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French press review 19 April 2013

Friday’s papers are dominated by comments on the G20’s tackling of money laundering at its spring meeting in Washington, President François Hollande’s drive against conflict of interest in public office and a French housewife who bagged 26 million euros in a lottery draw.


Les Echos welcomes what is sees as the birth of a global coalition against tax evasion.

According to the leading economic newspaper, both advanced and developing countries including France, endorsed the introduction of an automatic information exchange mechanism to clamp down on tax havens.

The measures will be finalised at the next G20 summit in Saint Petersburg in September according to the paper.

Dossier: The Cahuzac affair

Les Echos also welcomes the paid by the Washington meeting to fragile global growth, the eurozone stagnation and the swamp of excess monetary liquidity in the financial system.

The meeting is being undermined by news that International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde is to face prosecutors investigating a huge state payout to a disgraced tycoon during her time as French finance minister.

Libération reports that Lagarde has been ordered to appear before the Court of Justice of the Republic, the tribunal established to investigate cases of ministerial misconduct, at the end of May.

She is to answer questions over her handling of a dispute that resulted in 400 million euros being paid to Bernard Tapie, a former politician and controversial business figure who went to prison for match-fixing during his time as president of France's biggest football club, Olympique Marseille.

Prosecutors working for the court, suspect that Tapie received favourable treatment in return for supporting Nicolas Sarkozy in the 2007 and 2012 presidential elections.

Le Monde releases new findings about the money-laundering allegations piling up at the door of Swiss bank UBS. According to the paper, UBS approached 353 of France’s largest richest people offering bank secrecy guarantees to them.

Le Monde says it has learned that the French finance ministry wrote to the bank four times seeking assistance to find out if some 50 wealthy clients owning accounts at the bank may have been involved in tax fraud. Former workers at UBS are coming out to denounce what they describe as shady practices by the bank, according to Le Monde.

Libération reports French President François Hollande's programme to crackdown on conflict of interest in public office, resisted by lawmakers from both sides of the political divide. Certain professions, such as business lawyers, are particularly targeted in the projected law according to Libé.

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

L’Humanité critics budget cuts slapped on France’s universities as one of the causes of rising discontent against the Socialist government.

There's penury  in the faculties, writes the Communist Party daily. Up to 11 university chancellors spoke to the newspaper to voice their concerns about cash problems, some saying they have had to slash their library budgets by half to stay afloat.

Le Figaro points to the presidential scheme and growing discontent over his policies as the reasons why his popularity ratings has taken a further nosedive in the polls.

It publishes a new OpinionWay study showing, that Hollande would lose to his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy by 53 to 47 per cent if presidential elections were held here in France next Sunday.

The right-wing newspaper, however, warns the opposition UMP party that Hollande’s apparent loss of credibility and the repudiation of his leadership do not guarantee victory for the opposition.

Le Figaro also reports the collapse of the Central African Republic into chaos. According to the paper, widespread looting and revenge killings have continued in Bangui three weeks after the Seleka rebels took over the country.

Aujourd’hui en France sends its sympathy to the people of America as they hold a memorial service for the victims Boston marathon bombing.

While President Barak Obama consoled the bereaved city and a worried nation, thousands of Boston residents have donated blood and contributed a massive eight million dollars in cash to help the victims being treated in hospital, it reports.

Aujourd’hui en France tells the fantastic story of a rural French woman who bagged 26 million euros in last week’s draw of the Euromillions lottery.

The paper reports that Sophie, whose husband is unemployed and who has a large family, was a casual player staking two to four euros each time and playing numbers corresponding to her children’s birthdays.

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