Investigation into claim French minister hid funds
PARIS (AP) - The Paris prosecutors office says it is opening a preliminary investigation into allegations that France's budget minister hid money from French tax authorities in offshore accounts.
A statement Tuesday from the prosecutors' office said it also intends to open a probe for defamation based on a complaint over the allegations filed by Budget Minister Jerome Cahuzac.
The online newspaper Mediapart alleged in December that Cahuzac had a secret Swiss bank account until 2010, when the funds were transferred to Singapore.
Cahuzac has led the Socialist government's crackdown on tax evasion - part of a larger effort to bring in funds to cut France's deficit.
A preliminary investigation means the case can ultimately be dropped, or charges filed.
A surgeon by training, Cahuzac served as a lawmaker before his ministerial appointment.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.