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French Inquisition


just john

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A copy of the e-mail I received from my French bank today, anyone else experienced this?!?

Bonjour,
As you have deposit in cash xxxxx€ in 2008 and transferred xxxxx€ I have some more questions from my head office for you about laundering.
I will need to see you and meet you next time you come as already agreed with you .

What is your job : semi retired ?

Have you always got an professional activity and income .

If yes how much per year ?

You have still some money in England for xxxxx€
( is it always this or have you got some more since our last conversation?).

Have you got an account in another banquet in France ?

If you can send me your P60 and last statements of account .

In fact they want to know and justify where the money comes from .

Thanks a lot to give me those information.

Best regards .

 Thank you for choosing to bank with Crédit Agricole Charente  .

Yours sincerely,

L B  – Financial Adviser

 CHARENTE-PERIGORD UNITED

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Sounds highly fishy. For a start, that sort of letter would usually be in French. Did they quote your bank account number or anything else ?

If I were you, i would go in to your bank and ask them about the letter. I would definitely NOT write back until I was sure it was a genuine letter.
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I have previously had a letter advising that there would be an english-speaking contact at the bank, as per name given; they then contacted me requesting information including passport detail, utility bills etc to prove my english address, and then advising me they might contact me by e-mail, so all details stack up.[:-))]
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Don't be unsure about it, I can assure you the letters from CA were genuine and give the background to the enquiry; which was briefly explained to me at the bank last year that UK residents with second homes would be required to give proof of identity and origin of transferred funds, I have been with the bank 5 years and had several major transactions in France (all paid by cheque, funds transferred from UK). However the enquiries have become more persistent and detailed as per this last one despite giving all the answers requested[:@].
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As someone who works in financial services my advice is that you need to validate the letter by contacting your bank, but this sort of anti money laundering enquiry is increasingly far from unusual, as banks are required by law to identify source of client funds and their computer systems trawl through thousands of daily banking transactions for suspicious activity. The sort of activity looked for are regular payments into an account that are then transferred out again, especially if they are cross border payments and the bank's compliance officers will instigate an enquiry to find out more about the nature of the transactions.

In the vast majority of cases there is a perfectly innocent explanation, but as previously mentioned banks are now required by law to understand where your money comes from, be it by means of employment or investment or retirement income. Also if there is a sudden material variation to your bank account activity, such as a large credit, again the computer system will throw up an exception report for follow up enquiry.

Expect more and more of this type of enquiry as anti money laundering legislation, which extends to tax evasion, is being constantly tightened and the risk is if you ignore it then your account or payment under scrutiny will be frozen and a suspicious transaction report made to the police.

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Another matter to be aware of is that French banks are now required to obtain documentation evidencing your tax residence and if you are non French tax resident, you will be asked to produce evidence of your country of tax residence, such as a letter from your tax authority,or copy of last tax assesment.

I received another letter from my French bank recently in French and English asking for this, although I had responded by post to a previous request last year. This time I will visit the bank in person and ask for a signed receipt! 

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Hi everyone

Last year I had to transfer E11,000 from UK to my French bank to pay for some roofing work and received a telephone call from my Bank Manager asking me to go and see him, which I did.  He merely said he had to ascertain what the money was for because of "money laundering".  When I explained and showed him the facture that was it.

Normally I top up my account regularly to cover the utilities so no problem there.  It is only for "larger amounts" that they have to go through the procedure as far as I know.

As always the law abiding have to suffer because of the criminal element!

Wendy

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I have just remembered that my parents, who don't have property in France, but do have a bank account, were required to produce identification and a P60. As they are retired, the P60 is very old ! However, I went into our local Cred Ag on their behalf with the paperwork which my father had sent me (and signed) and everything was sorted out by the cashier. My father had been quite nervous receiving a letter like that so all was well.

Banks and accountants can be prosecuted for not revealing sources of income or any relevant information.

So, Just John, I think the letter is routine. However, I would go in to the bank and sort it out on the spot. If you aren't in France, write to them telling them when you will be coming out and arrange an appointment. The other thing you could do is send photocopies of any relevant documentation by post, saying that you will being the originals when you njext come out.
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[quote user="Sprogster"]

Another matter to be aware of is that French banks are now required to obtain documentation evidencing your tax residence and if you are non French tax resident, you will be asked to produce evidence of your country of tax residence, such as a letter from your tax authority,or copy of last tax assessment.

[/quote]

Has anyone on the forum, who is resident  in a Middle East 'zero tax' country been asked for such proof. Being 'zero tax' there is no tax authority or tax assessment. What proof would be / was acceptable. Would a residence permit be accepted?

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I agree with Sprogster and others who explain why the e-mail from the

bank may be genuine.  However, it occurs to me that - precisely because

the explanation is plausible - it would be good cover for a phishing

attempt.

The fact that it's an e-mail seems suspicious to me, and I wouldn't reply to it directly.  You could send a letter to your branch manager suggesting a meeting and enclosing a photocopy of the e-mail.  That should clarify whether it was genuine.

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 You could send a letter to your branch manager suggesting a meeting

Which is virtually what the original email suggested.

will need to see you and meet you next time you come as already agreed with you

I suppose the mention of an existing arrangment to meet might be some sort of clue one way or another

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[quote user="BJSLIV"]

 You could send a letter to your branch manager suggesting a meeting

Which is virtually what the original email suggested.

[/quote]

True.  Perhaps I'm over-suspicious.  It just seems to me that an e-mail is an odd way to make this kind of enquiry.

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Yep, Yep, yep; Its just that I had a conversation with the 'financial advisor' last year, and popped into the bank to show the Manager, Passport, English Utilities, English bank details etc, then another conversation regarding transfers and the possibility of me popping into the bank again next trip, then this e-mail, It just seems to be relentless for what I thought to be normal transactions of transferring funds to pay renovation costs by cheque to local trades . . .[blink]
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