French asset check critic has swanky home: Report

PARIS(AFP) - A leading Socialist who opposes plans to force lawmakers to reveal their assets complained on Wednesday of France becoming a "paparazzi democracy" after a newspaper released details of his swanky suburban home.

Claude Bartolone, the head of the lower house National Assembly, has opposed plans by Socialist President Francois Hollande to force parliamentarians to publish their assets as part of a government transparency drive.

Ministers released their declarations this week, as Hollande's government scrambles to contain a scandal sparked by his ex-budget minister facing tax fraud charges after admitting he had a secret Swiss bank account.

A bill extending the requirement to parliamentarians and other senior officials is due to be presented next week and Bartolone is among a large number of lawmakers, from both the left and right, opposing the bill.

On Thursday he denounced satirical newspaper Le Canard Enchaine for publishing details of his 380-square-metre home outside Paris and a photograph of his expansive outdoor terrace overlooking the city.

"Seeing my house in the Canard Enchaine? Who will be next? If this is paparazzi democracy, I'm not in," Bartolone told Europe 1 radio.

The newspaper reported that the three-storey home, in the eastern suburb of Les Lilas, was worth an estimated two million euros (S$3.24 million).

Bartolone said he supported lawmakers making asset declarations and increased punishments for corruption, but opposed making the declarations public.

He said he would work with other lawmakers and the upper house Senate to approve a bill that will "guarantee the transparency and honesty of lawmakers in the long-term".