Wed, Apr 17, 2013 - Page 6 News List

French Cabinet ministers disclose personal wealth

AFP, PARIS

French ministers on Monday disclosed their personal wealth for the first time, in a move French President Francois Hollande hopes will restore confidence in his scandal-hit Socialist government.

Multi-million-euro properties, bicycles and an account containing just 12.21 euros (US$16) — the revelations aim to help turn the page on a damaging scandal over tax fraud charges laid against ex-budget minister Jerome Cahuzac.

A total of 37 ministers and French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault published their declarations online. Eight are millionaires, including French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius — a well-known art lover whose father was an antiques dealer and has long been suspected of having significant wealth.

According to the declaration, Fabius is worth a net total of just over 6 million euros — owning a Paris apartment worth 2.75 million euros, two country houses, a shareholding in auction firm Piasa and other assets.

Ayrault is worth about 1.6 million euros. He owns two houses and a garage, as well as two cars and 13 bank accounts, some jointly owned.

Hollande did not make a new assets declaration, as he already released details of his wealth when elected president. At the time he declared 1.17 million euros in assets.

The disclosure has sparked widespread debate in France, where personal finances are rarely discussed and the wealth of public officials has long been considered a private matter.

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