Probe broadened into alleged laundering of tax-fraud money in case ensnaring budget minister

PARIS – Paris prosecutors have opened a judicial investigation into alleged laundering of money gained through tax fraud in a case centring on France’s budget minister.

The move Tuesday means an investigative judge will extend a probe involving Jerome Cahuzac — though investigators haven’t turned up enough evidence to charge him by name. The minister has long been a vocal crusader against use of overseas tax havens.

President Francois Hollande has supported Cahuzac since a preliminary investigation was opened in the matter in January.

The case was brought to light by online journal Mediapart. It alleged Cahuzac had transferred money from a Swiss account into one in Singapore, and produced a recording that it said was of Cahuzac’s voice talking about his secret account.

Cahuzac countered with a defamation complaint against Mediapart.