French authorities on Tuesday searched offices of several large banks, including Societe Generale, BNP Paribas and HSBC on the suspicion of money laundering and fiscal fraud, a spokesperson of the PNF financial prosecution office told Reuters.
Societe General confirmed the searches. The other concerned banks could not immediately be reached for comment.
The spokesperson confirmed earlier reports by paper Le Monde which said the probe was linked to dividend stripping and also hit Exane and Natixis.
The PNF said that five investigations were ongoing linked to so-called “cum-cum” practices, through which wealthy clients sought to evade taxes on dividends through complex legal structures.
“The ongoing operations, which have required several months of preparation, are being carried out by 16 investigating judges and over 150 investigation agents”, the PNF said in a statement issued around midday on Tuesday.