France

France's ex- budget minister will not seek re-election

France's Junior Minister for Budget Jerome Cahuzac attends the questions to the government session at the National Assembly in Paris March 19, 2013.
France's Junior Minister for Budget Jerome Cahuzac attends the questions to the government session at the National Assembly in Paris March 19, 2013. Reuters/Charles Platiau

The former French budget minister, who was made to step down over a tax fraud scandal, will not seek to be re-elected to his former parliamentary seat, according to a French newspaper.

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Jerome Cahuzac, who came under fire in April and eventually resigned from parliament, told the regional daily newspaper Depeche du Midi that he was concerned that a powerful hate campaign against him and bad press would prevent him from conveying his message to voters.

He vowed that any remaining funds from money he attempted to stash abroad, after paying the state, would be donated to local charities.

Dossier: The Cahuzac affair

"I will pay my debt. And I will give what remains, if there is any, to  charitable works," Cahuzac added.

For several months, the ex-budget minister who was in charge of tackling tax fraud, refuted claims by the Mediapart news website that he had kept money abroad in order not to pay taxes.

He only owned up when prosecutors launched a formal enquiry after experts agreed the voice on an damning tape, produced by Mediapart, probably belonged to Cahuzac.

In a televised interview in April, he said the sums involved in the scandal were in the region of 600,000 euros.

The scandal caused waves in French President Francois Hollande's already embattled Socialist government, tainting the image of an anti-corrupt administration that he had hoped to portray.

Cahuzac is now set to face charges for tax fraud.

By-elections to decide who will  take his seat, in the southwestern department of Lot-et-Garonne, will go ahead next month.

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