French authorities raid five banks in tax fraud case

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French authorities raided five banks on Tuesday as part of an investigation into massive suspected cases of tax fraud and money laundering.

Some 150 investigators, along with six German prosecutors, conducted searches in Paris and the financial district La Defense, the financial prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

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The raids follow five preliminary investigations that were opened in December 2021 in connection with money laundering and aggravated tax fraud related to dividend payments, the statement said.

The operation “required several months of preparation,” the statement said.

A spokesman for Société Generale confirmed to AFP that the French bank was being searched by authorities, but he said he did not know the reason.

French rival BNP Paribas and its unit Exane, financial group Natixis and British banking giant HSBC are the other ones, according to Le Monde newspaper.

A group of European news outlets published an investigation into the tax fraud dubbed “CumEx-Files” in 2018.

The amounts are suspected to have reached$151 billion (€140 billion) over a period of 20 years, the media group said in 2021.

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