French press review 22 June 2013

The news is dominated by disputes within the French Islamic council and judicial interest in the colossal fortune of French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius's son, Thomas.


Aujourd’hui en France reports that the eldest son of the French foreign minister is facing an investigation for money laundering as judicial police dig into the financial circuits through which he acquired a luxury apartment in a posh district of Paris.

Dossier: The Cahuzac affair

According to the paper, Thomas Fabius, aged just 32, bought the home for 7.4 million euros.

The paper says investigators are wondering how Fabius, who declared no income in 2012, managed to earn 3.4 million euros in a single year. The young man, an inveterate gambler, banned from French casinos is quoted as telling police that he won a poker jackpot.

The popular daily reports that the anti-money laundering squad discovered that the young Fabius received a money transfer from a Macao bank worth a million euros in 2012. It says he needs to explain to the police how he managed to obtain a four million euro loan from the Italian bank Monte dei Paschi and convinced the lender to defer repayment until 2022.

Fabius has denied giving his son a chunk of his massive family wealth, according to Aujourd’hui en France.

Libération takes up a looming war between French and German pig farmers in the wake of Berlin’s flirtations with social dumping policies that are luring French agroindustrialists to their side, leaving the French pork sector in peril.

The problem, according to Libé, is generated by the Germans’ hiring of low-paid farm workers from eastern European countries, which has enabled them to keep pork prices down to the detriment of French meat production. Libération reports that several pig farms are going bankrupt with up to 850 butchers working for slaughterhouses across Brittany are facing lay-offs as a result of the “German model”.

Le Figaro delves into a persisting standoff over the spiritual direction of French Islam that has divided the French Council of Muslim Practice into factions.

The right-wing newspaper reports that hard-line current,s favouring foreign concepts of Islam, have increased their influence in the umbrella organisation, jeopardising efforts by French authorities to promote moderate branches of the faith. The head of the French Muslim Council, Dalil Boubakeur, speaks to Le Figaro about the “influences” working against the organisation and the anger of mainstream Muslims, worried about the rise of Islamic extremism in France.

Private French broadcaster TFI begins airing a new series of Dallas this weekend, 20 years after the US soap opera ended.

Aujourd’hui en France reports that young actors recruited from Desperate Housewives have been drafted in to complement the likes of JR, Sue Ellen and Bobby, setting the stage for a passionate recall of the Ewing dynasty saga.

Le Figaro is also looking forward to the new version of what it terms the “awful family” and the “cynical universe” of John Ross and Christopher, who use their children to pursue their ruthless confrontation.

The desperate hunt for a coach that had thrown the future of French football champions Paris Saint Germain into uncertainty has finally yielded fruit. The sports daily L’Equipe reports that the Qatari owners of the elite club are planning to unveil former French manager Laurent Blanc as the team’s new boss. The decision falls just nine days to kick-off of the new season and there is mounting speculation about the kind of reception that PSG’s rowdy fans are planning for Laurent Blanc.

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