- French and German authorities have conducted multiple raids on banks in Paris as part of an investigation into a suspected fiscal fraud and money laundering case.
- Paris Financial Prosecutors' Office (PFNP) stated that five banks were currently under investigation for potential aggravated tax fraud laundering and/or aggravated tax fraud, namely Société Générale, BNP Paribas, its subsidiary Exane, Natixis, and HSBC.
French and German authorities have conducted multiple raids on banks in Paris as part of an investigation into a suspected fiscal fraud and money laundering case that may have cost France and Germany over €100 billion ($108 billion). The searches executed in and around Paris involved four French and one international bank. However, this was confirmed by the spokesperson for the French Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF), as reported by Deutsche Welle on March 28.
Representatives of the Paris Financial Prosecutors’ Office (PFNP) stated that five banks were currently under investigation for potential aggravated tax fraud laundering and/or aggravated tax fraud, namely Société Générale, BNP Paribas, its subsidiary Exane, Natixis, and HSBC. Furthermore, the investigations are related to the ‘cum/cum’ practice, a controversial technique employed by some banks in which wealthy clients are allowed to avoid the taxation of their dividends. It is essential to know that investigations into these five banks began in December 2021.
The PNF released a statement to Deutsche Welle emphasizing the scope of their operations, saying: “We have been preparing for these operations for several months, and they are being carried out by 16 investigating judges and over 150 investigative agents.”
Moreover, the report also highlighted that six prosecutors from the city of Cologne in western Germany were involved in conducting the raids related to the tax evasion practices which came to light following the 2018 ‘CumEx files’ investigation carried out by Correctiv, a German investigative newsroom. The term ‘CumEx’ is derived from Latin words meaning ‘with’ and ‘without’, thereby referring to the vanishing dividends associated with such practices.
The banking sector still struggles
The global banking sector is still reeling from the rapid collapse of several major banks and near-demises which have only been saved through emergency mergers. José Manuel Campa, Chairperson of the European Banking Authority (EBA), has warned that this industry remains highly vulnerable to further disruption. Peter Schiff, CEO of Euro Pacific Asset Management, likened the contagion to the 2008 financial crisis and expects it to be worse than the Great Recession. In response, investors have been flocking to Bitcoin (BTC), driving up its market capitalization to surpass giants like Visa (NYSE: V) and JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM).
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