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France’s Wealth Exposed

Volume XI, Issue 16

In the news…

Yep, the French ministers revealed their wealth on Monday. I was surprised they acquiesced to President François Hollande’s demand to expose their assets, but they did. Some turned up quite wealthy, others quite modest. Either way, I was personally opposed to such an invasion of privacy and wonder why anyone would want to be a politician under such conditions.

18-4-13hollanderatingsHollande’s ratings18-4-13LaurentFabius18-4-13Jean-Marc AyraultVolkswagen1000Jean-Marc Ayrault’s Volkswagen Combi camper van purchased in 1988 valued at €1,00018-4-13ChristianeTaubira18-4-13CahuzacHomeJerome Cahuzac’s house in Pianottoli-Caldarello, southern Corsica, pictured on April 5, 2013. (AFP, Pascal Pochard-Casabianca)

Hollande, of course, is trying to salvage his reputation, which has the lowest ratings in the history of French presidency (29%). It’s funny to me that while he is trying to avoid a government made up of “gauche caviar,” (or champagne socialists), that American capitalists revere our wealthy as those who have worked hard and done well for themselves.

Several of the ministers declared wealth in excess of the €1.3 million threshold for the imposition wealth tax with most of it declared in property. “Laurent Fabius, foreign minister and former prime minister, was revealed as the wealthiest, with property in Paris and elsewhere worth €3.9 million, shares in Piasa, a French auction house, worth €1.2 million and €630,000 in unspecified other possessions. Mr Fabius is known to have a collection of art inherited from his art dealer father.” (Financial Times)

From our capitalist point of view, that isn’t really all that shocking — Americans who have the means to purchase property in Paris may not all be that wealthy, but are of the ‘means’ to invest and diversify. It’s not at all unusual for our own clients to have similar means.

The list of assets revealed can be comical, too. “Christiane Taubira, the feisty justice minister, included not just her 2008 Hyundai car, worth €13,000, but also her three bicycles worth a total of €900.” Hollande himself declared €1.17 million when he was elected last year — thanks to his €800,000 house on the Riviera and two apartments in Cannes, along with ”various possessions” worth €15,000.

I fully expected his own government to mutiny, but they didn’t, and while the UMP Party is opposed to his tactics, he’s forging ahead with even further moves to clean up his credibility with voters.

Personally, I would like to see owning property and acquiring wealth in France become admirable rather than shameful. How does M. Hollande expect to tax a society that has no means? As the old saying goes: “You can’t get blood out of a turnip” — and so it is, you can’t get money out of the poor.

What don’t they understand about that? Or is it just my Americanism peaking through?

Curious to know what is the wealth status of each? Find out.

A bientôt,

adrianbyESL2013 Adrian Leeds
Director of The Adrian Leeds Group, LLC

Respond to Adrian:  [email protected]





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P.S. When buying an investment property overseas, the constant fluctuations in the exchange rate are an important factor that can impact the overall cost. We work with currency exchange specialists Moneycorp and World First to help you make the most of your Dollar or Sterling when buying property in France. Find out how you can make your money go further — visit our Currency Exchange page.


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