(Central News Agency) French authorities raided five banks today as part of an investigation into suspected massive tax fraud and money laundering.

This action is suspected to be related to European media reports that a number of European banks are involved in a transnational tax fraud case involving as much as 140 billion euros.

About 150 French investigators, together with six German prosecutors, carried out searches in Paris and La Defense, the financial district on the outskirts, the French financial prosecutor's office said in a statement, Agence France-Presse reported.

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The statement stated that the prosecution launched five preliminary investigations in December 2021 in response to suspected money laundering and aggravated tax fraud related to dividend payments in the banking industry, and launched a search today.

Prosecutors stressed that the search operation "takes months to prepare".

A spokesman for Societe Generale confirmed to AFP that the bank had been raided, but said he did not know why.

BNP Paribas and its subsidiary Exane, Natixis SA and British banking giant HSBC were also searched today, French newspaper Le Monde reported.

A group of European news media published a tax fraud investigation report called "CumEx-Files" (CumEx-Files) in 2018; this group of media reported again in 2021 that the suspected crimes involved as long as 20 years, involving as much as 140 billion euros (Approximately NT$4.6 trillion).

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