UMP members walk out of fraud Cahuzac inquiry
Parliamentary commission in crisis after walk-out
Former budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac contradicted his former boss, finance minister Pierre Moscovici, at the tax fraud hearing. Photograph: Benoit Tessier/Reuters
The parliamentary commission investigating “dysfunction” in the government’s handling of the Cahuzac affair is in crisis after its conservative UMP members walked out in protest on Wednesday night.
The previous day, the former budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac had testified for the second time.
He contradicted his former boss, finance minister Pierre Moscovici, who told the commission that President François Hollande, prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, Mr Moscovici and Mr Cahuzac discussed a request for information from Swiss authorities last January 16th.
Mr Moscovici’s revelation was prompted by a question based on the book Jérôme Cahuzac: Eye to Eye by Charlotte Chaffanjon. Right-wing deputies claim the government conspired to hide the fact that Mr Cahuzac was evading tax through offshore accounts.
On Tuesday, Mr Cahuzac claimed he had no memory of the January 16th meeting, which Mr Moscovici described in detail, saying Mr Cahuzac was calm and asked that the request for information from Swiss authorities cover the longest possible period.
UMP deputies insisted on summoning the prime minister to reconcile Mr Moscovici’s and Mr Cahuzac’s contradictory versions of events.
The law prevents them from summoning President Hollande, so Mr Ayrault is the only person who could shed light on the matter.
Ten socialist deputies attended the Wednesday night session and only eight UMP deputies. The socialists voted down the request, prompting the commission’s conservative secretary, Gérard Darmanin, to resign.
“The socialist majority refuses to allow the truth to be revealed in the Cahuzac affair,” he said.
“The transparency that the socialists said they wanted stops where the truth might embarrass them.”
The socialists accused the UMP of attempting to “stage a political coup” before the summer recess. The UMP contingent then suspended their participation in the commission, a self-defeating move since it is they who want the commission to discredit the government.