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Ex-minister scared of paperwork

Thomas Thévenoud claims ‘adminstrative phobia’ is the reason for him failing to declare his income or pay his rent

AS MORE and more revelations of financial ineptitude come out relating to ex-minister Thomas Thévenoud, he excuses himself today in Le Canard Enchaîné by claiming to suffer from “administrative phobia” – ie. fear of doing paperwork.

Holding his post as a minister for exports, development and tourism for a record short time – just nine days – before stepping down due to scandals revealed in the French media, Mr Thévenoud has also resigned from the Socialist Party, but, controversially, says he plans to stay on as an independent MP.

Initially the Elysée cited “personal reasons” for his resignation, however failures to fill out his tax forms soon came to light as the main reason in reports by sources including Médiapart.

iTélé states he had not been declaring his income for three years, while Médiapart and L’Express have added that the tax office even started a procedure to force him to pay tax.

The ex-minister, meanwhile, said in a written statement that “the problems that I had with late declaration and payment have now been completely resolved now, including the relevant penalty payments” and “I have never been subject to legal action” over them.

Now, Le Canard Enchaîné says he also failed to pay his rent on his Paris apartment for a three-year period at one stage, and was threatened with eviction.

Questioned on Europe 1 radio yesterday, he admitted this was “not a shining example”, but that “it happened before I was elected as an MP (ie. before June 2012) and it’s all sorted out since then”.

It also turns out there were gaps in his MP’s declaration of business interests, such as not mentioning an auto-entrepreneur business.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls has said Mr Thévenoud’s resignation came due to “a situation discovered after he was nominated,” saying that they agreed together he should step down.

France Info interviewed a psychiatrist, Christophe André, as to the existence of “administrative phobia”, who said: “Of course it doesn’t exist. I’m a doctor, so I don’t like to shoot at ambulances [expression meaning to kick someone when they are down], but I feel concerned about this line of defence which consists of giving a psychiatric reason for his bad behaviour.”

However, he said it was true he had some patients who found paperwork stressful, but if that was the case Mr Thévenoud should resign as an MP.

Former Parti Socialiste leader, Lille mayor Martine Aubry told Le Monde: “If he still has a minimum of morality he should already have resigned.”

Photo: Azelguerra?Wikimedia Commons

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