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Non-cooperative countries: French banks take the initiative in Europe

French banks, represented by the French Banking Federation (FBF), have just made a series of proposals to their European counterparts, concerning their operations in non-cooperative countries (tax havens).

The proposals come in response to a request by the French President, at a high-level meeting on 10 April 2009, who urged the French banking community to come forward with proposals aimed at the European banking sector in all the areas dealt with at the G20 summit, and particularly relations with non-cooperative countries.

Taking the initiative (as they did earlier in the year on the issue of traders' pay), French banks have now proposed to all European banks the joint adoption of a series of principals and best practices aimed at reinforcing the fight against the grey areas that pose a threat to the security of the global financial system.

The proposals are the following:

  • proactive international cooperation,
  • extension of internal control rules applicable in Europe,
  • transparency regarding subsidiaries, branches and offices,
  • specific governance for the least-cooperative countries,
  • transparency regarding operations with the least-cooperative countries.

The proposals are based in part on a rigorous application of the principle of transparency (on presence in and dealings with the least-cooperative countries). They also include specific and reinforced governance rules (the extension of internal control rules applicable in Europe, heightened vigilance within the various groups' high-level decision-making bodies, including, if necessary, a close down of all activities).

The only way to ensure that efforts by Europe's financial community are truly and fully effective is to obtain a strong and coordinated commitment by individual countries, which have sole responsibility for laying down international rules (including lists of non-cooperative countries, or so-called "grey" and "black" lists) and their transposition into national law.


Colette Cova
email : ccova@fbf.fr
Tel : 01 48 00 50 07

Kenza Benqeddi
email : kbenqeddi@fbf.fr
Tel : 01 48 00 50 08

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