French President Francois Hollande isn’t feeling the heat in quite the way he expected on his visit to Morocco.
Jean-Jacques Augier is Hollande’s former campaign treasurer. He’s in the media spotlight for holding offshore accounts in the Cayman Islands.
The news comes hot on the heels of details that Hollande’s ex-budget minister Jerome Cahuzac has been charged with fraud.
Distancing himself from Augier, Hollande said, “I know nothing of these activities and if they don’t conform to fiscal law, I ask the administration to take the necessary measures”.
Le Monde reported that Hollande’s ex-treasurer became a shareholder in a Cayman Islands company in 2005. Augier has completely refuted the claims. “I am categorical that I’ve done nothing illegal. I’ve never had any direct personal involvement with the Cayman Islands, nor would I gain any fiscal advantage by doing so”.
Michael Hudson, Senior Editor ICIJ
“The main message is that this is a very secret world. There are lots of shadows, and not everyone in this world is involved in something nefarious. But when you have secrecy, when you have a lack of transparency, when you have these complex systems that are set up, it is very easy for people that are up to no good, people who want to commit fraud, people who want to do Ponzi schemes, people who want to launder money, people who want to hide money from their spouses, it’s very easy for them to get away with bad things when you have such ironclad secrecy.”
What we found is that a lot of these mega-rich folks use it to own their yachts and they use it – and I kind of knew that – but they use it to own their mansions, they use it to own their jewelry. But the thing that really surprised me is that a lot of super-rich folks use offshore to own art collections. So within these documents we found records about the sale and purchase of a van Gogh.”
Details of a massive investigation of global offshore accounts have just been released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
The group used 90 journalists across 47 countries, employing the latest hi-tech data to sift through 2.5 million documents over the last 30 years.
Michael Hudson is the Senior Editor of the ICIJ. In an interview with euronews he said, “When you have a lack of transparency, when you have these complex systems that are set up, it is very easy for people that are up to no good, it’s easy for them to get away with bad things when you have such ironclad secrecy”.
The group believes the amount of data leaked is 160 times greater than the 2010 Wikileaks scandal which unearthed a large volume of politically sensitive U.S. State Department documents.