Disgraced French minister, Jérôme Cahuzac, forced to sleep in car
John Lichfield has been The Independent's man in Paris since 1997, covering French news. Before that, he was the paper's Foreign Editor and he has also worked in Brussels and Washington. In 1999, he was the UK press Awards Foreign Reporter of the year.
Thursday 11 April 2013
The disgraced former French Budget Minister, Jérôme Cahuzac, has become a pariah forced to sleep some nights in his car, it has emerged.
Mr Cahuzac, 60, has given his first press interview since he plunged the government into crisis by admitting that he dodged taxes, placing large sums in accounts in Switzerland and Singapore. He told the Toulouse-based newspaper, La Dépêche du Midi, that he was changing addresses “every two days” to escape media attention. He confirmed a story in the news magazine L’Express that he had sometimes been forced to sleep in his car.
“I am moving every two days to escape the pressure,” he said. “I am astonished at the technical means [some media] have to follow my trail.”
Mr Cahuzac, who was once a wealthy cosmetic surgeon, was until last month the minister in charge of spending cuts and cracking down on tax evasion. After four months of denials, including lying to the President and parliament, he admitted last Tuesday that he had regularly hidden money in bank accounts abroad and still held €600,000 (£510,000) in Singapore.
The admission has plunged an already struggling Hollande administration into crisis. Mr Cahuzac did not discuss his actions with La Dépêche. Asked about his future, he said: “I can imagine nothing. Luckily, I still have a few faithful friends.”
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