Socialists are people who want to tax a second party for the good of a third party while the first party keeps its Euros in a Swiss bank account.
President Hollande had just regained some support with the successful expedition into Mali, but is now scrambling for his political life again after the latest revelations about his budget minister.
As budget minister, Jerome Cahuzac advocated an extended version of Hollande’s 75% tax on the rich. The tax was shot down by the courts. But Cahuzac had his own private Swiss bank account with around a million bucks in it.
Jérôme Cahuzac, who resigned as budget minister last month over tax fraud allegations, had denied “ever” possessing a foreign bank account before parliament, describing such allegations as “crazy” and “slanderous”.
But the Socialist government’s former “Monsieur Propre” (Mr Clean) on Tuesday admitted to having a “bank account abroad” for the past two decades.
Mr Cahuzac had dismissed a report in December by French investigative news website Mediapart that he held an undisclosed account at the Swiss bank UBS until the start of 2010.
Mediapart alleged that Mr Cahuzac then closed the account and shifted the undisclosed sums to “another tax haven in Asia”.
It had released a recording of a telephone call in which a male voice it claimed was Mr Cahuzac can be heard saying: “What bothers me is that I’ve still got this account open at UBS. UBS is not necessarily the most hidden of banks.”
Following his confession, he was formally charged with “laundering the proceeds of tax fraud”, which carries a maximum prison term of five years.
This shouldn’t have come as too much of a surprise. Cahuzac with using illegal cleaning workers back in 2007.
President Hollande is down to 27% support and has been on television pleading for a third chance from the French people. It’s an embarrassing appearance for an embarrassing little man.
Le Monde, the left-of-centre newspaper, said in an editorial: “The Cahuzac scandal has become, in an instant, the François Hollande affair. Over the past six months, the loss of credit of the head of state has already been profound and handicapped his actions. It risks becoming unfathomable and paralysing. In the eyes of the French, either he was naive or incompetent, or he, more or less, covered up the lie. In either case, the failing is deep.”
Jean-Marc Ayrault, prime minister, told members of the ruling socialist party the government was “stunned, but not knocked out” by the affair.
At this rate, the knock out won’t take too long.