France’s deadline to resolve EADS crisis expires

That news, coupled with a profit warning, sparked huge losses in EADS shares the following day, when the group saw more than a quarter of its market value — 5.5 billion euros (6.9 billion dollars) — disappear.

The media spotlight quickly turned on Forgeard, as it emerged that he and some family members, as well as other EADS at the European Aeronautic Defence and Space company, had sold off stock options worth millions of euros in March.

Chirac said Monday he would be "shocked" if it turned out that Forgeard had acted irregularly, but that he would not prejudge the investigation of stock market authorities.

Forgeard, who has insisted he had access to no "privileged information" when the sales were made, will find himself in the hot seat on Wednesday when he is due to be questioned by the French parliament’s finance committee.