EUROPE: Ex-IMF chief Strauss-Kahn defends Morocco residency amid French tax probe.

As published on thelocal.fr, Friday 16 December, 2022.

Strauss-Kahn was among hundreds of individuals identified in the so-called Pandora Papers, a probe by investigative journalists into money laundering and tax dodging, released in October 2021.

He was widely expected to run for the French presidency as a Socialist candidate when he was accused by a New York hotel maid of sexual assault in 2011, a case that was later dropped but exposed other assault allegations.

Since the former head of the International Monetary Fund’s fall from grace, he has done consulting work and speeches via his firm Parnasse International, based in a Morocco tax haven called Casablanca Finance City.

Prosecutors said late Wednesday they were investigating whether he is genuinely a resident of Morocco, where he grew up, or actually spends most of his time in France.

He was called in for questioning last June, a judicial source confirmed to AFP.

“I have made myself available to investigators and will continue to do so,” Strauss-Kahn said in a statement.

“Since 2013, I’ve live and conducted my business activity with a company duly registered, and I have a fiscal identification number,” he added.

In the wake of the Pandora Papers, the French news programme Cash Investigation revealed that Casablanca Finance City grants firms like Parnasse tax-free status for the first five years of business, then caps any tax at 8.75 percent.

It also noted that Strauss-Kahn created another firm, Parnasse Global, in 2018 in the United Arab Emirates, which for decades had no corporate taxes.

Both companies receive the speaking and consulting fees the former French politician now earns worldwide.

In November 2016, Strauss-Kahn was ordered to pay €75,000 in back taxes to Luxembourg, following the collapse of his Paris-listed Leyne Strauss-Kahn and Partners (LSK) investment firm.

The year before, he was acquitted after a trial in France for his alleged role in a prostitution ring.

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