French authorities searched five French banks on Tuesday (28th) on suspicion of tax fraud and money laundering, among which Société Générale confirmed that it was searched by the authorities.

(Associated Press)

[Financial Channel/Comprehensive Report] French authorities searched five banks including Societe Generale, BNP Paribas and HSBC on Tuesday (28th) on suspicion of tax fraud and money laundering. The banks, currently Societe Generale and BNP Paribas, confirmed authorities were searching but declined to comment further, while the others did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

According to comprehensive media reports, the French Financial Prosecutor's Office (PNF) said that about 16 investigating judges and 150 prosecutors were conducting searches in downtown Paris and the financial district La Defense.

The PNF added that six German prosecutors were also involved in the investigation.

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The PNF said Tuesday's searches also targeted Exane, a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, and Natixis, the investment bank of France's BPCE group.

And this investigation is related to the so-called "Cum-Ex" case, which is a trading scheme in which banks and investors can quickly sell and reacquire stocks on the day of dividend payment, so that tax agencies can't figure out who owns the stock ownership. This avoids paying taxes applied to dividends, and even allows for refunds on dividend taxes, where banks have been accused of acting as intermediaries and even charging commissions to participants.

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