Monday, September 28, 2009

BNP Paribas to close units on OECD's "grey list

From Reuters:

"French bank BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA) is to close subsidiaries located in countries on the OECD's "grey list" of nations which have not fully implemented global tax standards.

"I think we have around half a dozen or so subsidiaries in tax havens, such as Panama, and it's there (in Panama) that we have decided to close down," chief executive Baudouin Prot told Europe 1 radio station on Monday. "BNP Paribas will no longer have any businesses in tax havens that remain on the grey list," he said."

This is very good news indeed, although the bank needs to explain why it has so many other secrecy jurisdiction affiliates - 189 at the last count. The OECD's grey list system and the criteria it uses are hopelessly inadequate, but there is no doubt that it has provoked changes in behaviour.

BNP Paribas' move follows this:

"According to the French press, Eva Joly, Member of the European Parliament and former French examining magistrate, has called on the Board of French banking giant BNP Paribas to explain the purpose of its secrecy jurisdiction affiliates.

And this:

"The French government is introducing a new measure requiring all French banks to disclose information regarding their links to tax havens."

A good, if insufficient, move from BNP Paribas. Now, who's next?


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