The Strategist

France demands that Societe Generale return € 2,2 billion in taxes

11/15/2016 - 14:09

French Ministry of Finance has launched a process to return of € 2,2 billion of tax incentives, with which the government has provided Societe Generale bank, due to loss from actions of the institution’s former trader Jerome Kerviel. Les Echos writes this, citing sources.

Mohamed Yahya
Mohamed Yahya
According to the publication, Tax Administration of the Republic intends to return either the entire amount granted to the bank, or part of it.

"The tax authorities have started a procedure for return of tax exemptions previously granted to Societe Generale bank", - said the French authorities. The sum amounts to 2.2 billion euros, which is equal to tax breaks the French government granted bank in 2009-2010 after losses incurred from Kerviel’s financial fraud. 

In September, the Court of Cassation of Versailles ordered former Societe Generale’s trader Kerviel to pay the French bank € 1 million of compensation within Societe Generale vs Kerviel case. The ex-trader himself hasn’t paid the amount prescribed by the court yet.

In 2008, the French bank declared a loss of € 4.9 billion. According to the financial institution, it was caused by actions of Kerviel, who used a special margin trading mechanism to open positions on futures on European stock exchanges’ indices totaling around € 50 billion.

In October 2010, the court found the trader guilty for losses incurred by the bank, and sentenced him to five years in prison, and full compensation for damages. Kerviel remained at large since he appealed. In March 2014, the court canceled its requirement to compensate losses of the bank after consideration of one of the appeals.

In June, the culprit won € 100 th. by court action for unfair dismissal. Above that, he also received € 300 thousand-bonus for the year 2007. In addition, the bank was sentenced to immediately pay € 80 thousand to the claimant.

Societe Generale finished the third quarter with a net profit of € 1,1 billion, which turned out better than expected. According to FactSet’s survey, analysts expected to see this figure in the region of € 922 million on the basis of the last three months. At that, the company's net income was still below last year's result by 2%. The same applies to the bank's earnings, which amounted to € 6.01 billion and was worse by 6% than corresponding period of the previous year. 

At the beginning of the week, there were reports that Italian UniCredit and French Societe Generale are discussing a merger. Then, UniCredit's shares rose 5.8%.

Source of Italian news agency Ansa said that the "financial community" is chitchatting about merger of the two banks. In addition to the merger, UniCredit plans to increase capital by € 10 billion.

Current CEO of UniCredit, Jean Pierre Mustier previously served as Head of Corporate and Investment Banking at Societe Generale, and was a member of the bank's Management Board. In July this year, he took lead of UniCredit.