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No favours as former finance minister escapes jail

Former budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac, relieved to hear the outcome of his court case. AFP/Eric Feferberg

Convicted last year on tax fraud charges, French former budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac will not have to go to jail. He will be fitted with an electronic bracelet instead.

Cahuzac was sentenced to four years in jail (with two years suspended) in May 2018 for tax fraud after a secret personal account worth 15 million euros was discovered in Switzerland.

After the court ruling in a Bastia court on Wednesday, his lawyer, Antoine Vey told the AFP news agency that the decision was "neither a favour, nor an exception".

According to Le Parisien French daily, the head of the prison service supported the decision by saying Cahuzac had shown sufficient regret over his actions and that it was unlikely that he would commit a subsequent offence.

The former minister had also made an effort to engage in future professional projects, and above all, had paid his fine of 300,000 euros.

The scandal surrounding the retired surgeon who was a minister under the leadership of then President François Hollande lead to the creation of a special national financial court in 2013 and a series of reforms designed to catch tax cheats.