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French foreign minister blasts newspaper

April 8, 2013 at 4:38 PM   |   Comments

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PARIS, April 8 (UPI) -- France's foreign minister blasted a newspaper for reporting that another media outlet was investigating whether he has a Swiss bank account to help dodge taxes.

Laurent Fabius said the report by the left-leaning newspaper Liberation, which claimed he's being investigated by the news website Mediapart, had no "substance or foundation." The foreign minister said he would take legal action to "stop the diffusion of this false and slanderous information."

France 24 reported Fabius denied Sunday he was the target of an investigation by Mediapart -- which just last week uncovered a Swiss bank account held by former budget minister Jerome Cahuzac, who has since admitted he lied about his finances to avoid paying his full share of taxes.

"More than an affair, it's a potential political bomb. Everyone thinks the same thing: If Fabius really does have a Swiss bank account, the entire government would fall. Immediately," Liberation wrote in its Monday edition under the headline, "The nightmare continues."

Mediapart's president, Edwy Plenel, took serious issue with the newspaper's reporting.

"Liberation has lost its mind: It is transforming a rumor into news by taking credit for information Mediapart has not published," Plenel tweeted.

Cahuzac faces a potential five-year prison sentence and a fine of 375,000 euros ($487,000). Radio France Internationale said he had more than 15 million euros stashed in the bank account and presented a fake tax receipt when he tried moving it to an account in Singapore.

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