Ex-French minister in court for tax fraud, money laundering

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A former French budget minister will appear in court on charges of tax fraud and money laundering that forced him to dramatically resign three years ago in the first political scandal under President Francois Hollande.

The trial of Jerome Cahuzac, once a champion in the fight against tax evasion, starts Monday afternoon in the main hearing room of the Paris criminal court in the presence of dozens of journalists and a large audience.

The 63-year-old is accused of financing a lavish lifestyle by fraudulently concealing 687,000 euros ($765,000) of income to French tax authorities in 2009-2012 and laundering money in 2003-2013 through foreign bank accounts based in tax havens, including Switzerland, Panama, the Seychelles and Singapore.