French ministers to declare assets publicly after Cahuzac scandal
France's Socialist government has ordered ministers to declare their assets publicly by 15 April, in a bid for greater transparency, amid a major scandal which erupted last week, when former budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac admitted having a secret bank account abroad.
The government will also put forward a law on financial transparency among ministers and other top officials by April 24, with plans for it to be adopted by the summer, French Prime Miniser Jean-Marc Ayrault said in a statement.
The move comes as President Francois Hollande's government scrambles to contain the fallout after Jérôme Cahuzac confessed and was charged with tax fraud two weeks after resigning as the minister who led a crackdown on tax evasion.
Ayrault said in a statement that measures to boost financial transparency would be presented to a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
He said measures would also be taken to "more severely punish breaches of the financial law and ethics and integrity rules, and to strengthen the fight against tax fraud and tax havens".
Critics have rounded on Hollande and his ministers, accusing them either of trying to cover up the scandal or of mismanagement for believing Cahuzac's denials.
Many have called for a government reshuffle, a move that was rejected by Hollande and Ayrault last week.
The scandal has also focused on the personal finances of those close to Hollande, including his former campaign treasurer who was revealed last week to have been a partner in two companies based in the Cayman Islands, a well-known tax haven.
The government has also said it will seek to tighten Europe-wide measures on tax evasion by strengthening the exchange of banking information throughout the continent.
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