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French regulator asks banks to report on tax haven use

France's financial regulator, the Autorité de contrôle prudentiel et de résolution (ACPR), has asked French banks to provide a report on their activities in tax havens after the recent 'Panama leaks', Le Monde has reported (link in French).12 Apr 2016

Millions of documents reportedly detailing the use of offshore tax structures in Panama by some prominent public figures were obtained by the media, and have received widespread attention since.

The French finance minister has already asked Paris-headquartered financial services group Société Générale "for an explanation" after the documents showed it has opened hundreds of offshore companies in Panama, Reuters reported (link in French).

Société Générale said that it only maintains a few dozen offshore funds for clients and that these have all been transparent in dealing with tax authorities, Reuters said.

The French request follows a similar demand from the UK's Financial Conduct Authority. According to a letter seen by the Financial Times, the FCA has given banks and other financial institutions until 15 April to report any links to Mossack Fonseca, the law firm at the centre of the leak, or to any companies formed or managed by it.

The UK government has announced a new 'task force' to tackle financial compliance issues raised by Panama leaks, which will be jointly led by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and National Crime Agency (NCA).