Suspicions of giant tax fraud: several French banks searched

Suspicions of giant tax fraud: several French banks searched

Société Générale, BNP Paribas, Exane, Natixis and HSBC were visited by magistrates and police on Tuesday morning as part of searches carried out by the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF). They are suspected of having allowed their foreign clients to evade dividend tax. The information, revealed by The worldwas confirmed by the PNF.

These searches in Paris and at La Défense “come within the framework of five preliminary investigations opened on December 16 and 17, 2021 on the count of aggravated money laundering of aggravated tax evasion, and for some of aggravated tax evasion, relating to the so-called CumCum fraud scheme ” , writes the PNF in a press release.

The ongoing operations, which required several months of preparation, are being carried out by 16 magistrates from the PNF and more than 150 investigators from the financial judicial investigation service (SEJF), in the presence of six German prosecutors from the Cologne public prosecutor’s office involved in the framework of European judicial cooperation”, added the public prosecutor.

An ongoing search at Société Générale

Société Générale, BNP Paribas, Exane (a subsidiary of BNP), Natixis and HSBC are targeted, according to Le Monde.

A spokesperson for Société Générale confirmed that a search had been underway at the group’s headquarters since Tuesday morning, without knowing what the purpose was.

The other banks did not respond to AFP immediately. According to the public prosecutor, “some of these investigations follow a complaint”, filed at the end of 2018 by a collective “Citizens in an organized gang” around the boss of PS deputies Boris Vallaud, “or a mandatory denunciation from the tax administration”. , which according to Le Monde dates from the end of 2021.

The daily also affirms that the General Directorate of Public Finance (DGFip) “made its first tax adjustments at the end of 2021″ concerning some of these banks “for sums counting in tens, even hundreds of millions of euros. »

Asked by AFP, the DGFip did not comment. Neither customs nor Bercy had responded immediately either.

A group of sixteen media revealed in 2018 via the “CumEx Files” these suspicions of giant tax fraud.

The amount, initially estimated at 55 billion euros, had been significantly increased in 2021 by the consortium, rising to 140 billion euros over twenty years.

The so-called “CumCum” practice in financial jargon consists of escaping the tax on dividends which must in principle be paid by foreign holders of shares in listed French companies.

To take advantage of the scheme, these owners of shares, small savers or large investment funds, entrust their securities to a bank when the tax is collected, thus escaping taxation.

The banks would have played an intermediary role, while charging a commission to the holders of shares.


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