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Timeline - the scandal that's rocked Hollande's government

Reuters/Charles Platiau
3 min

Background and key events to understanding the Jérôme Cahuzac affair.

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THE BACKGROUND

Former budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac, a doctor, owns a joint medical practice with his estranged wife, also a doctor, specialising in hair transplants. He also worked in the early 1990s as a consultant for pharmaceutical companies. He is currently embroiled in divorce proceedings and his wife hired a private detective, who held meetings with a former tax inspector, Remy Garnier, who had officially reported suspicions about Jérôme Cahuzac in 2008, though these were not pursued.

In December, Mediapart (an investigative online news and opinion website, created in 2008 by former editor in chief of Le Monde, Edwy Plenel) website received a tape in which a voice (allegedly Cahuzac’s) expresses worries that his secret bank account could be discovered. The tape was left on Mediapart’s answering machine by Michel Gonelle, a lawyer and former UMP politician who was Cahuzac’s political rival.

How did Gonelle get the tape?

Cahuzac and Gonelle telephoned each other from time to time. Cahuzac, (accidentally selecting Gonelle’s number) left the message on Gonelle’s answering machine in 2000.
Gonelle aware of the tape’s explosive nature, kept it for 12 years, until 2012, when he chose to reveal it to Mediapart.

Dossier: The Cahuzac affair

KEY DATES

  • 4 December: Mediapart website alleges Jérôme Cahuzac had a Swiss bank account.Cahuzac declares in communiqué “I have never had a bank account in Switzerland or elsewhere. Never.”
  • 5 December: Mediapart cites as proof the recording deposited on its answering machine in which he apparently discusses the account. Cahuzac tells French lower house of parliament “I do not have, have never had, an account abroad. Not now, not ever.”
  • 6 January: Cahuzac “It cannot be me [on the tape] because I have never had an account abroad.” (to Europe 1 radio, Le Parisien newspaper, i-télé)
  • 8 January: Preliminary judicial investigation opened to ascertain whether the recorded voice is Cahuzac’s
  • 9 February: Le Journal du Dimanche reports that Cahuzac's boss, finance minister Pierre Moscovici, is in possession of a document from Swiss authorities exonerating Cahuzac.
  • 19 March: Investigation concludes that voice on tape is very probably Cahuzac. Cahuzac resigns, saying he will devote his time to clearing his name. Says his resignation "changes nothing, neither about my innocence, nor about the libellous nature of the accusations against me.”
  • 2 April: Cahuzac admits existence of account and asks for forgiveness from French president, his former government colleagues, parliamentarians, and the French people.

 

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