Saturday, February 26, 2005

A simple man

A financial scandal has prompted the resignation of France's finance minister:

Herve Gaymard said he had made a "serious error of judgement" and his resignation was accepted by Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin.

The minister, his wife Clara and eight children had been living in the luxury Paris flat at a cost to the taxpayer of 14,000 euros (£9,000) a month.

In an earlier interview with Paris Match magazine, Mr Gaymard said he always lived humbly.

"I don't have money," he said.

"Obviously, if I weren't the son of a shoemaker and shoe salesman but a 'grand bourgeois', I wouldn't have a housing problem. I would own my own apartment and there wouldn't be this affair."

However, a report published in the centre-left daily newspaper Liberation revealed that he owns two houses, two flats and a garage outside Paris, as well as a luxury flat in the capital which he rents out for 2,300 euros ($3,032, £1,584) a month.

Eight kids, now there's a "serious error of judgement".


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