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Candidates’ wealth made public

It's the first time in French history that all candidates' personal wealth has been made public - and it's now mandatory. Copyright Anthony DelanoixFor the first time in the history of French presidential elections, new anti-corruption body Haute Autorité pour la Transparence de la Vie Publique has revealed all 11 candidates’ personal declarations of assets and financial interests. All properties and assets worth over 10,000€ must be formally declared as well as cars, the number of personal bank accounts and their status, loans, debts, and business interests.

These declarations are one of the conditions - along with having 500 signatures from election officials (parrainages) – candidates must comply with to make it through to the first round of voting.

Among the many pages of documentation are countless interesting revelations regarding France’s final 11.

Front-runner Emmanuel Macron, for example, didn’t declare a single property in his name, but did show other financial assets such as a captive fund worth 61,500€ with the Rothschild investment bank and 275,000€ in sales for his book, Révolution. He also has a life insurance policy worth 92,000€, but some 300,000€ in loans.

Marine Le Pen declared a real estate portfolio worth almost 612,000€ (homes in Morbihan, Hauts-de-Seine and the family estate in Montretout). She has also borrowed 6,000,000€ from her father’s ‘micro party’ Cotelec to fund her presidential campaign.

Centre-right candidate François Fillon has revealed he has some 15 separate bank accounts (the most padded of which contains 7,900€), 100% of the capital of the 2F Conseil consultancy company (around 98,000€), his château in the Sarthe (750,000€) and several ongoing loans.

Left-winger Jean-Luc Mélenchon appears to be the most financially stable among the candidates with over 1,000,000€ in real estate (a Paris apartment of 110m2 plus a rural retreat in the Loiret) as well as 100,000€ spread across six private bank accounts.

Socialist candidate Benoît Hamon has, in turn, declared an apartment in Finistère worth 121,000€ as well as an apartment in the Hauts-de-Seine worth 700,000€ (although he owns less than half of the property) – both were financed with loans in the last year. Hamon also revealed his eight bank accounts, which contain around 15,000€ in savings.

According to the HATVP’s website: “The High Authority is an independent administrative authority: it acts in the name of the French State without being subject to the government’s authority. Its mission is to strengthen exemplarity and promote integrity amongst public officials.”

The HATVP was officially launched in January 2014, replacing the Commission on the financial transparency of public life, whose ‘powers and resources were limited and inadequate to properly verify probity amongst elected and appointed public officials’.

The declarations can be read at www.hatvp.fr

 

Elsa Carpenter