France shocked over stabbing death of tax inspector during routine audit

© Francois Lo Presti, AFP

The French government on Tuesday expressed shock after a tax inspector was stabbed to death as he was trying to audit the books of a business owner in the north of the country.

The murder victim, a 43-year old civil servant for the tax authorities, was found dead on Monday, killed "most likely by repeated stabbing", the prosecutors' office in the northern French city of Arras said.

The suspected killer, a 46-year-old antiquities dealer, was then believed to have killed himself with a firearm, it said.

The suspect, described by the local mayor as "an ordinary guy", locked up the tax inspector and a female colleague during a tax audit of his business, and tied them up, it said.

The Arras chief prosecutor, Sylvain Barbier Sainte-Marie, told reporters Tuesday that the presumed killer may have planned the murder well ahead of the agents' visit.

Police had found clamps used to tie up the agents "which were probably purchased before the act", according to the prosecutor.

"Early evidence seems to point to a premeditated act," he said.

Budget Minister Gabriel Attal said earlier that "the republic is weeping for one of its own", calling it "revolting" that a public servant was killed "because he did his job".

The inspector arrived Monday afternoon at the antique dealer's home, accompanied by a colleague, to check his accounts.

Attal said usually agents were sent on tax check missions on their own, but this time there was backup because there had been tensions during previous visits to the antique dealer's business.


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