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Business

French billionaire Dassault to stand trial for tax fraud

The industrialist and senator has been investigated for stashing money outside of France. An accountant claims to have delivered him tens of millions of euros in plastic bags, but Dassault has denied all charges.

The 90-year-old billionaire industrialist and French senator Serge Dassault will be brought to court in July over allegations that he hid millions of euros in Luxembourg and Liechtenstein, sources close to the case reported on Monday.

Dassault, member of the center-right party Les Républicains, is CEO of the Dassault Group, which holds a majority stake in commercial and military aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation. It also owns the popular right-wing newspaper Le Figaro.

French authorities raised suspicions about Dassault's assets as early as 2014. The country's High Authority for Transparency and Public Life, which monitors the income of elected officials, questioned "the exhaustivity, exactitude and sincerity" of his filings.

String of abuses

His accountant also reportedly claimed to investigators in 2014 that he had delivered 53 million euros ($59.6 billion) in plastic bags to Dassault over a stretch of years.

That same year Dassault was charged with vote buying and other abuses of fiscal regulations while campaigning for the mayorship of the French suburb Corbeil-Essonnes, an office he had held since 1995.

That case resulted in Dassault being stripped of the immunity accorded to French parliamentarians.

Dassault has to date denied all charges.

jtm/hg (AFP, Reuters)

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