Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 9th 2016 Contents A18
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, February 9, 2016
FRANKFURT---The top central bankers from France
and Germany are joining in an appeal to fix long-
standing flaws in the euro currency by more closely
integrating their economies and putting more authority
over financial policies at the European level.
Francois Villeroy de Galhau and Jens Weidmann
argued in an article yesterday in the Sueddeutsche
Zeitung daily that the 19 member countries must get
moving on measures to make the shared currency work
better and keep trouble in one country from infecting
Those measures include increasing cross-border
shareholding in companies, which would spread the
burden of downturns as losses from a troubled company
would be shared by investors in different countries.
Such shareholding is a major factor in smoothing reces-
sions in the United States, but is less common in Europe.
They also advocate completing a system of Europe-
wide banking regulation and oversight. The EU has
implemented some aspects of the so-called banking
union, aimed at preventing bank bailouts from over-
whelming national budgets, but the scheme still lacks
full-fledged deposit insurance at the EU level.
Such measures, combined with a new EU-wide
investment program, could encourage investors to shift
money out of savings and toward productive use in the
economy, Weidmann and Villeroy de Galhau wrote.
Ultimately, they said, the EU should decide whether
to create a European finance ministry and fiscal council
that would be subject to parliamentary control.
The finance minister idea has been proposed before
but gained little political traction. The European Com-
mission, however, is already working on a plan to expand
companies opportunities to link up with investors
through share markets.
The shared currency, set up in 1999, was shaken by
a crisis starting in 2009 over excessive government and
bank debt in member countries such as Greece, Ireland,
Portugal, Cyprus and Spain, all of which needed bailout
loans from the other member states. The crisis eased
as economic growth began to recover and as massive
monetary stimulus from the European Central Bank
helped calm financial markets. Yet economic growth
across the currency union remains modest and debt
levels in countries such as Greece and Italy are still
How to fix the euro:
urge closer ties
PARIS---A former French budget minister is appear-
ing in court on charges of tax fraud and money laun-
dering that forced him to dramatically resign three
years ago in the first political scandal under President
The trial of Jerome Cahuzac, once a champion in
the fight against tax evasion, began yesterday 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 (US$765,000) of income from French tax author-
ities in 2009-2012 and laundering money in 2003-
2013 through foreign bank accounts based in tax havens,
including Switzerland, Panama, the Seychelles and
The Socialist, once considered a rising star in French
politics, faces up to seven years in prison and a 1 mil-
lion-euro fine if he is convicted of tax fraud.
The trial s opening day attracted demonstrators who
arrived at the courthouse carrying nearly 200 chairs
they say they took from banks they accuse of partic-
ipating in tax evasion.
Cahuzac s lawyers have said they would use the first
hearing yesterday to ask the court to postpone the trial,
arguing a defendant shouldn t be under both a criminal
and a tax procedure at the same time.
If the court accepts Cahuzac s legal argument, the
trial could be postponed for months.
After strongly denying any fraud for months and
publicly lying to the Parliament, on television, to the
French people and to his government colleagues, he
eventually admitted his wrongdoing in a statement in
April 2013, saying he had been "trapped in a lying
spiral" and that he was "devastated by remorse."
On trial alongside Cahuzac are his former wife; a
banker; a legal adviser; and Reyl, a respectable but
little known Swiss bank, accused of tax fraud and/or
money laundering. (AP)
Ex-French minister in court for
tax fraud, money laundering
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