French junior finance minister resigns after conviction

A junior finance minister has quit the French government after being convicted of failing to declare all his wealth and income

PARIS -- 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.