Hollande Calls for Global Tax Havens to Be Abolished
As the French government is mired in a growing scandal over secret foreign bank accounts, President Francois Hollande called for tax havens to be eradicated and defended French finance minister, Pierre Moscovici.
Speaking in a televised address after his weekly cabinet meeting, socialist leader Hollande vowed on Wednesday to "eradicate" European and global tax havens.
"The fight against fraud is a condition for tax equality," Hollande added. "Tax havens must be eradicated in Europe and in the world, as a condition to preserve and protect jobs."
(Read More: France Faces 'Devastating Scandal' as Economy Stalls)
His remarks come as the scandal over France's former budget minister Jerome Cahuzac's secret Swiss bank account grows. Hollande is under pressure to reshuffle his cabinet after France's Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius was also accused by a French newspaper of having a Swiss bank account.
"Lessons should be drawn from the Cahuzac case," Hollande said on Wednesday, adding that there had been too many other cases of financial corruption - practices he likened to the occult - that had "marred public life."
"The most recent case shows, once again, the need for a relentless struggle against the excesses of money, greed and the financial occult. It calls for strong responses, as the French people demand," he added.
Finance minister Pierre Moscovici has been accused of being slow to act on the allegations against Cahuzac. On Wednesday morning, Hollande said those attacks on Moscovici were "unfair" and tried to soothe anger among French voters by saying French banks would have to disclose a list of all foreign subsidiaries.
Hollande defended his economic record as France's economic outlook has turned increasingly negative, saying he was conducting an economic policy of "budget seriousness" and not austerity.
On Tuesday, the Bank of France forecast meager growth of 0.1 percent in the first quarter of 2013, helping the euro zone's second largest economy narrowly avert a recession after its economy contracted by 0.3 percent in the last quarter of 2012.
-By CNBC's Holly Ellyatt, follow her on Twitter @HollyEllyatt