France’s President Francois Hollande is facing a financial scandal after it emerged that his former Socialist Party treasurer Jean-Jacques Augier invested in two Cayman Islands offshore companies.
Jean-Jacques Augier, who managed Francois Hollande’s campaign funds, told the daily Le Monde that there was “nothing illegal” in his tax haven affairs.
Meanwhile, ex-budget minister Jerome Cahuzac has been charged with fraud.
Ministers are under pressure to reveal what they knew about his tax evasion.
Speaking during a two-day visit to Morocco, Francois Hollande insisted he knew “nothing” about the “private activities” of Jean-Jacques Augier.
He said it was up to France’s tax authorities to investigate the matter, AFP reported.
On Wednesday Francois Hollande used a national address to promise that in future all ministers and MPs would have to declare fully their personal finances.
The pressure is growing for a full government reshuffle – just 10 months after Francois Hollande took office.
Jerome Cahuzac admitted this week that he had hidden about 600,000 euros ($770,000) in a Swiss bank account.
French newspapers are calling it the biggest political crisis for Francois Hollande since his election last year, the AFP news agency reports.
He had promised voters morality and integrity in public life after what were nicknamed the “bling-bling” years of his conservative predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy.
But this year Francois Hollande’s opinion poll ratings have slumped, as the country remains mired in recession and unemployment at 10.6%.
In the latest financial twist, Le Monde reports that Francois Hollande’s ex-treasurer Jean-Jacques Augier became a shareholder in a Cayman Islands company called International Bookstores Ltd in 2005.
Jean-Jacques Augier said that venture came about because of a large publishing investment in China.
He insisted that he had “no personal bank account in the Caymans nor any direct personal investment in that territory”.
But Francois Hollande’s administration has been chasing the wealthy with such investments abroad, our correspondent says. So Jean-Jacques Augier’s affairs are a problem for him.
Earlier this week it emerged that the former budget minister, Jerome Cahuzac, had lied to the president, parliament and the public about the offshore accounts he had held for more than 20 years.