Former French budget minister Jerome Cahuzac was charged Tuesday in a tax fraud probe, his lawyer said, as he admitted having had a foreign bank account for around 20 years.
Cahuzac, who resigned last month but had until now refuted allegations he had undeclared foreign accounts, said in a statement he was “devastated by guilt”.
His lawyer, Jean Veil, said he had been charged with “laundering the proceeds of tax fraud”.
In a statement on his website, Cahuzac — the first minister in President Francois Hollande’s administration to face a criminal probe — said he had met with investigating magistrates Tuesday and admitted to having a foreign account.
He said it contained about 600,000 euros ($770,000) and had not been touched in about a dozen years. He said he had ordered the funds transferred to his French account.
Cahuzac begged forgiveness from Hollande, his former government colleagues, fellow lawmakers, French voters and his family and his friends.
“I was caught in a spiral of lies and lost my way. I am devastated by guilt,” he said.
“It was an unspeakable mistake to think that I could avoid confronting a past that I wanted to consider behind me. I will now face this reality with all transparency.”
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