Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Cahuzac Confesses

Jérôme Cahuzac, who had hitherto denied possessing a foreign bank account as alleged by Mediapart, has now admitted to investigating magistrates that he has held as much as 600,000 euros abroad for the past twenty years. He was immediately mis en examen for suspicion of fiscal fraud. Cahuzac had denied his guilt even to the president, who he claimed to have "looked in the eye" while proclaiming his innocence.


bernard said...

This is seriously damaging, though one would have to be naive indeed to believe that all the bad guys are on the conservative side. President Hollande made a bad mistake in not having his top personnel thoroughly vetted. One can only hope that background checks, US style, are now in full swing on every Minister.

Anonymous said...

Apparently there's no vetting process in France. A friend told me that it's because no politician could get a nomination if there were (not sure how true or meant to be funny that was).
Mediapart was right on the money once again. Good job.
I'm astounded though that the guy steadfastly maintained his innocence. And equally flabbergasted that he'd confess now.

Passerby said...

I don't find Cahuzac's behavior surprising. It's actually a very human reaction (Lance Amstrong rings a bell?).

20 years ago the guy thought he could save some cash by hiding it away from tax authorities (a bad judgment call to say the least). At that stage it's just a downhill path. Whether you plan to go into politics or not, it's not something you're going to tell the world about. So he just shut up, probably only informing a few relatives in case of death and a couple "truthful friends". Of course he didn't write this in his application letter to the Socialist party.

Fast forward. 2009-2010. Secrecy worked well, he's now a sucessful politician. However Switzerland's tax haven has been under attack for a couple years. He realizes that now he could get caught. He's still not on the radar of the tax authorities, so why confess when he can just move the money to Singapore?
From a tax evader stand-point he was right. He would not have been caught without that phone conversation with his "truthful friend" that was recorded.

Fast forward. 2013. He now has government responsibility, when Mediapart starts making some noise around the recorded phone conversation. That starts to smell bad. He can either come clean and lose everything, or try to get away.
It's not like Mediapart produced a picture of him holding undeclared bank statements. Audio recording is easier to dismiss as fake, so he choses the second option. It worked very well for a while. Very few politicians (publicly) believed Mediapart, and even some journalists defended him.

It's only when Justice got involved that he realized he had lost. Game over was just a matter of time. Making amend was actually the smartest move. He avoided extra months of public agony and it might even weight on the final sentence of the judges.

What I would find really interesting (aside from his sentence), was if the investigators exposed the names of the pharma companies that fed his account.

I have worked many years in healthcare. It's an industry standard to compendate practitioners who perform proctoring/consulting work on behlaf of a company. It's all documented in a contract. Nothing strange there. However, to make a payment for a doctor on a foreign bank account is a *huge* red flag. In companies I worked for, this out of policy (and strictly enforced -I have personally witnessed such demands being refused). Let's face it, if a doctor practicing in France asks for payments to be made to a Swiss bank account, the pharma companies knew they were guilty of helping tax evasion. 20 years later there is probably a legal prescription, but it's not too late to expose them.

Anonymous said...

Comparing Jérôme Cahuzac with Lance Amstrong is interesting !!!

They both have a problem with "almighty power".

I am afraid that Cahuzac will have to cycle hard to regain his credibility !!!