SociétéGénérale SA CEO Frédéric Oudéa denied allegations that the Frenchbank helped establish offshorecompanies in the recent past that its clients potentially used to evadetaxes, Le Figaro reported April 6.
In an interview with the French newspaper, Oudéa claimedthat "only a few dozen" of the 979 offshore vehicles claimed to havebeen created by the bank — mostly through its Luxembourg-based unit, SociétéGénérale Bank & Trust Luxembourg — are still active.
He told Le Figarothat the bank had gone to great lengths over the last six years — and inparticular the last three years — to understand the intentions of clients whowant to set up offshore companies, adding that Société Générale is aware of theidentity of the ultimate owner in each case.
"Someone who wishes to evade taxes today does not openan account with Société Générale," he told Le Figaro, adding that the bank left Panama in 2012 and no longerhas a presence in any tax havens.
Describing the Panama Papers-related allegations against thebank as "scandalous," he said that these allegations do not take intoaccount recent changes at Société Générale and in the wider financial servicessector.
With regard to his April 5 meeting with French FinanceMinister Michel Sapin, Oudéa told the newspaper that he disclosed all theinformation he had been asked to reveal and that he assured the minister thatSociété Générale would always be at the disposal of French authorities.