French authorities have opened a preliminary investigation into the consulting activities of former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn to look into alleged tax fraud revealed in the so-called "Pandora Papers".
France's national financial prosecutor's office confirmed on Wednesday that an investigation is underway into Strauss-Kahn's consultancy operations in Morocco.
The former IMF chief and politician is suspected of "laundering the proceeds of tax fraud", according to French newspaper Le Monde.
France's Financial Judicial Investigation Service reportedly questioned Strauss-Kahn on the subject in police custody at the end of the summer.
Strauss-Kahn's activities as a lecturer and consultant were highlighted in October 2021 as part of the "Pandora Papers" – an investigation carried out by some 600 reporters within the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
A preliminary investigation has been opened in France questioning my tax residence in Morocco ... pic.twitter.com/wrfAP9DoxL— DSK (@dstrausskahn) December 15, 2022
Tax havens in Morocco and UAE
Among the 11.9 million documents from 14 financial services companies examined were the accounts of Parnasse International – a company set up by former finance minister Strauss-Kahn in May 2013.
According to France 2's "Cash Investigation" television programme, his company was established in a free zone in Morocco – the Casablanca Finance City – which gave it total exemption from corporate tax for five years, followed by a cap at 8.75 percent thereafter.
The investigation also pointed to the creation of Parnasse Global Limited in April 2018 in the United Arab Emirates, where there is no public register of companies, and the company does not pay any taxes.
Consultant and lobbyist
The two companies allegedly process Strauss-Kahn's fees for the executive conferences and corporate talks he gives around the world, as well as consultancy costs.
Cash Investigation claims that he has notably advised Congolese President Denis Sassou-Nguesso to lobby for Congo-Brazzaville at the International Monetary Fund.
In October 2021, Strauss-Kahn defended himself on Twitter, saying: "I have been a Moroccan tax resident since 2013 and (...) I pay my taxes there for 23.8 percent of my profits, or 812,000 euros for the years 2018, 2019 and 2020."
Meanwhile, France's national financial prosecutor's office opened another tax fraud investigation last February targeting the former Czech Prime Minister and billionaire Andrej Babis.
France is investigating some 200 people named in the Pandora Papers, according to Le Monde.