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  • A money changer holds stacks of U.S. dollar notes

    A money changer holds stacks of U.S. dollar notes | Photo: Reuters

Published 16 March 2016

The report highlights the disconnect between profits and taxes, and the role tax havens play for companies seeking to avoid higher tax bills. 

Banks in France are exploiting tax havens to generate massive profits, according to a new study released Wednesday by Oxfam, an anti-poverty organization.

The report found that five of France’s largest financial institutions – BNP Paribas, BPCE, Société Générale, Crédit Agricole, and Crédit Mutuel — earn more than a third of their international profits through tax havens. 

The five banks investigated reported more than US$5 billion in profits in 2015 thanks to their offshoring money in tax havens.

“It was shocking to realize the sheer volume of money that banks are routing through tax havens to maximize their profits when we investigated this new data,” said Manon Aubry, advocacy adviser at Oxfam France.

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According to a recent parliamentary report, France loses between US$44 and $66 billion in tax revenue each year, which is almost equivalent to the entire national education budget. 

“Public services in both Europe and developing countries are lacking vital resources for services such as health care and education, while ordinary citizens carry a heavier tax burden,” said Lucie Watrinet, advocacy adviser at CCFD-Terre Solidaire, an anti-poverty NGO.

A two-year-old European Union law requires banks to disclose basic information on their activities and the taxes they pay within each country they operate. France is the first to have translated this provision into national law.

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