France says Qatar tax breaks must end

Reuters , Tuesday 6 Jun 2017

French President Emmanuel Macron Reuters

Justice minister Francois Bayrou said on Tuesday France should end tax breaks on property deals granted to nations including Qatar, a day after several Arab countries severed ties with the Gulf Arab state.

Former president Nicolas Sarkozy in 2008 granted Qatari investors exemptions from taxes on profits from the sale of properties in France. Qatar's royal family has since built up a portfolio of assets ranging from a Champs-Elysees shopping mall to the Lido cabaret.

"Under the responsibility of Nicolas Sarkozy, France gave Qatar an incredible tax advantage," Bayrou told BFM television.

"Can this situation continue? I don't think so. I think it's very important that in France we have tax fairness."

During this year's election campaign, now-President Emmanuel Macron said he wanted to end Qatar's tax concessions.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain on Monday cut ties with Qatar, which denounced the move as based on lies about it supporting Islamist militants.

"I will be extremely demanding with regard to Qatar and Saudi Arabia in terms of foreign affairs and to have full transparency in the role they play in the financing or actions that they could lead with regard terrorist groups that are our enemies," Macron said during the election campaign.

France's Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who was the architect of sales of Rafale fighter jets to Qatar in 2015, was to meet his Saudi counterpart on Tuesday.

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