Hollande vows to 'eradicate' tax havens

2013-04-10 15:00
Francois Hollande (Picture: AFP)

Francois Hollande (Picture: AFP)

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Paris - French President Francois Hollande on Wednesday vowed to "eradicate" tax havens "in Europe and the world" as he pursued anti-corruption efforts in the wake of a tax-fraud scandal.

As part of the effort, Hollande said that French banks would be required to declare all of their subsidiaries around the world.

He also announced the creation of a special prosecutors' office to pursue corruption and tax-fraud cases, as well as a new government authority to monitor the assets and potential conflicts of interests of ministers, parliamentarians and other senior elected officials.

Hollande said there was "a need for a relentless battle against the excesses of money, greed and secret finance”.

"Tax havens must be eradicated in Europe and the world because this is a condition of saving jobs," Hollande told a post-cabinet press conference.

"French banks will be required to every year make public the list of all their subsidiaries everywhere in the world, country by country," and will be required to "declare the nature of their activities," he said.

"I will not hesitate to consider any country that refuses to fully co-operate with France as a tax haven," he said.

Hollande said he also wanted the requirement extended to banks across the EU and eventually to major corporations.

Tax scandal

Hollande's Socialist government is scrambling to contain a scandal surrounding former budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac, who last week was charged with tax fraud after admitting to having an undeclared foreign bank account.

Hollande said he felt "wounded, struck, even bruised by what happened" with Cahuzac, saying his behaviour "goes against all of my personal views, my political requirements, my commitments”.

He said Cahuzac, who had denied having the foreign account to parliament, should not again take his seat as a member of the lower house National Assembly.

"This is, I think, a question of conscience," Hollande said. "How can someone return to the parliament where a lie was told?"

He also denounced "unjust attacks" on Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici, who was Cahuzac's boss when he was budget minister.

Hollande's government has been shaken by the scandal, which erupted last week after Cahuzac - once in charge of tackling tax evasion - admitted to investigators that he had a foreign account containing some €600 000.

It has announced a series of measures in response, including a requirement for all ministers to publicly declare their assets by Monday.

Read more on:    eu  |  francois hollande  |  france

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