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Banks raided on suspicion of tax evasion

The National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF) announced on Tuesday that searches were underway at the premises of several banks in Paris as part of five preliminary investigations for aggravated money laundering of aggravated tax evasion.

The National Financial Prosecutor’s Office suspects Société Générale, BNP Paribas, Exane (a subsidiary of BNP), Natixis and HSBC of having helped their clients to evade tax on dividends, according to French media.

These searches in Paris and at La Défense “are part 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, quoted by the press.

“The operations in progress, 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 intervening in the framework of European judicial cooperation”, added the public prosecutor.

According to the same source, “some of these investigations follow a complaint”, filed at the end of 2018 by a collective “Citizens in an organized gang” “or a mandatory denunciation from the tax administration”.

The so-called “CumCum” practice in financial jargon consists of evading taxation 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.

As a reminder, 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.



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