France’s Finance Minister Hervé Gaymard has been forced out of office in a property scandal.
He resigned after a newspaper exposed his property holdings in Paris, Brittany, and Savoie, and the fact that he and his wife also paid France’s wealth tax, reserved for the country’s highest earners.
The scandal erupted when the Gaymards and their eight children moved into a huge Parisian flat, specially adapted for them and paid for by the state. For a minister who has been promoting austerity, this was frowned upon by some.
However Gaymard defended himself last week in a magazine interview in which he stressed his modest origins, insisted he had no money, and didn’t own any property.
This defence has now been exposed as less than frank, and prompted Gaymard’s boss, Prime Minister Raffarin, to insist he go on television tonight to explain himself. That may not now be necessary.