French junior finance minister resigns after conviction

International

FILE – Alain Griset, who worked in the Finance Ministry and oversaw relations with small and medium-sized businesses, arrives for a meeting with labor union representatives and French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Wednesday June 24, 2020. The junior finance minister quit the French government Wednesday Dec. 8, 2021 after being convicted of failing to declare all his wealth and income. The unusual conviction of a minister in office is a stain on the government of President Emmanuel Macron, who had promised a wholesale cleanup of political life when he was elected in 2017. (Ludovic Marin / POOL via AP, File)

PARIS (AP) — A junior finance minister quit the French government Wednesday after being convicted of failing to declare all his wealth and income.

The unusual conviction of a minister in office is a stain on the centrist government of President Emmanuel Macron, who had promised a wholesale cleanup of political life when he was elected in 2017.

Alain Griset, who worked in the Finance Ministry and oversaw relations with small and medium-sized businesses, was convicted of submitting an incomplete wealth declaration to the government transparency authority. He was handed a six-month suspended prison sentence and a three-year suspended ban on holding public office.

Griset’s office said in a statement that he has appealed Wednesday’s court decision, but submitted his resignation pending the appeal. Macron accepted his resignation and appointed the junior minister for tourism, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, to take over Griset’s responsibilities.

French media reported that Griset had failed to declare financial holdings including stock-based bank accounts and stocks in leading French companies, and that during his trial he said his failure to declare was the result of “clumsiness” and bad financial advice.

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