Hollande knew 'nothing' about campaign director's taxes

Hollande knew 'nothing' about campaign director's taxes

RABAT - Agence France-Presse
Hollande knew nothing about campaign directors taxes

rench President Francois Hollande (C) arrives to deliver a speech at the Kingdom of Morocco's National Library in Rabat on April 4, 2013 on the second day of his official two-day visit. Hollande is visiting Morocco fresh from battling an explosive tax fraud scandal that risks overshadowing his landmark two-day visit to the former French colony. AFP photo

French President François Hollande insisted on April 4 he knew "nothing" about the private activities of his one-time campaign treasurer Jean-Jacques Augier who admitted he was a partner in firms registered in the Cayman Islands tax haven.

"I know nothing about these activities, and if they do not conform to French tax law, I will ask the administration" to make the "necessary corrections," the embattled president said at a news conference in Rabat.

"It is for the tax administration to do its work" on these "private activities," he added.

Le Monde newspaper had reported on April 4 that his campaign treasurer for last year's presidential vote had joint ownership of two firms registered in the Cayman Islands, a well-known tax haven.

Hollande also emphasized that he would go all the way to clean up French politics after an ex-budget minister was charged in a tax fraud probe linked to his secret foreign bank account.

He stressed that the French government itself was not involved in the scandal but "one man who failed." "I will go all the way on these questions because I have nothing to fear from the strict application of the laws that exist and the application of the new laws" announced, Hollande said.

"To be clear... it is not the government that is being challenged, it is one man who failed." The man in question, Jerome Cahuzac, was charged on Tuesday with "laundering the proceeds of tax fraud" after he admitted to having an undeclared foreign bank account containing some 600,000 euros ($770,000).

As budget minister, he was responsible for cracking down on tax evasion until he resigned two weeks ago.

The scandal has caused a major crisis for the French president and his government, which critics accuse of either trying to cover up for Cahuzac or of mismanagement for having believed his denials.