French Prosecutors Confirm Raids on 5 Banks in Paris

Published: 29 March 2023


The French National Prosecutor’s Office confirmed that the five banks were raided as part of an aggravated tax fraud investigation. (Photo: Pxfuel, License)

By Henry Pope

French authorities raided five banks across Paris’ finance center on Tuesday, in an attempt to uncover evidence of a multi-billion euro tax fraud scheme dubbed “CumCum”.

The French National Prosecutor’s Office confirmed in a communiqué that the raids on the banks were the result of five preliminary investigations of aggravated tax fraud, originally opened in December 2021.

While prosecutors did not name the targeted banks in their statement, Le Monde identified them as France’s Société Générale, BNP Paribas, Exane, Natixis, and the British banking giant HSBC.

Authorities described the so-called “CumCum” fraud scheme as: an act where a foreign shareholder of a listed French company transfers its securities to a French banking institution around the date of its dividend payments to its own shareholders, in order to circumvent any taxes attached to said dividend.

This, the national prosecutor’s office says, constitutes tax fraud. Local media estimates that the “CumCum” scheme has resulted in upwards of hundreds of billions of deprived tax revenue for the French state.

As many as 150 finance investigations are now open into the scheme, prosecutors said. Additionally, 16 French magistrates and six prosecutors out of Cologne, Germany have been assigned to the case.

The five banks did not immediately respond to OCCRP’s requests for comment.