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Begging forgiveness, French ex-budget minister admits to lying about foreign bank account

French President Francois Hollande is decrying an "unforgiveable moral error" by his former budget minister, who has admitted in his blog to lying about a once-secret foreign bank account.

A spokeswoman for Paris prosecutors said authorities filed preliminary charges Tuesday against Jerome Cahuzac for alleged money laundering. If convicted, he faces up to 5 years in prison and a 375,000 euro ($481,500) fine.

Cahuzac wrote on his blog that he told investigating judges he had a foreign bank account for 20 years. Calls to his lawyer and to colleagues to verify the comments were not returned.

Hollande's office denounced Cahuzac's behavior. The minister had long criticized the use of overseas tax havens and had insisted he didn't have a foreign bank account. He quit the government amid the ballooning scandal.