Owning up: French cabinet ministers forced to declare assets

Owning up: French cabinet ministers forced to declare assets
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French president François Hollande, in hot water after the Cahuzac scandal and the Offshore Leaks revelation about his campaign financier, is keen to appear focused on the need for transparency. He asked all 38 members of his government team to publish a detailed list of their estates, properties and assets. While it’s far from certain this move will revive his flagging opinion ratings, it will certainly provide citizens with an insight into their leaders’ wealth.

With 6,042,494 euros of assets, Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius is worth more in financial terms than all his colleagues. This includes a 2.75 million apartment in Paris and 630,000 € in works of art, jewels and furniture. He does, nonetheless, have to reimburse a 515,500 € loan he used to buy a house in Normandy. One of his bank accounts is seriously in the red, being 30,716 € overdrawn.

Second and third on the podium of well-off Socialist government ministers are the Junior Minister for the Elderly and Dependent Care, Michèle Delaunay, and Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Affairs Michel Sapin with, respectively, 5,224,000 € and 2,151,000 € in assets.

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault is the fourth richest cabinet member, with total of assets worth 1,559,788 €. For what it’s worth, the 63-year-old former German professor also owns an old Volkswagen minivan. On the subject of old cars, Sport and Youth minister Valérie Fourneyron declared owning a 1976 Citroën 2CV. This iconic French car has been estimated at a modest 3,000 €. Another ministerial fan of bangers is Territorial Equality and Housing minister Cécile Duflot who owns a Renault 4L worth 400 €. Ten ministers out of 38 do not own a vehicle.

French ministers like their two-wheelers too: Minister of Women’s Rights and Government spokesperson Najat Vallaud-Belkacem declared a 2008 Piaggo scooter (500 €), Junior Minister for Veterans Kader Arif owns a Sym Scooter (1,750 €) and Minister for Agriculture Stéphane Le Foll owns a 2001 BMW 650 GS, valued at 300 €. Minister of Justice Christiane Taubira went as far as to declare her three pushbikes, worth between 200 and 400 euros.

Among the nuggets of information found in the report, Minister of Industrial Renewal Arnaud Montebourg declared a Charles Eames chair worth 4,269 € as well as a parking spot in Dijon.

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