Banks

Simple Russian nationals see their transfers blocked by banks in France

Transfers blocked, refusal to open a bank account… For several days, dozens of simple Russian nationals in France have denounced “shocking” practices on the part of French banks, under the pretext of their nationality. Several of them testified in Le Figaro, Thursday March 31. Like this 31-year-old national who has lived in France for two and a half years. A few days ago, she tried to transfer money from her livret A to her current account, but on her bank’s online space an error message appeared: “unpaid credit opposition” . She called her adviser, who put her through the branch manager: “She told me that my transfers were blocked because I was Russian, given the political situation. And that the only solution was to go to agency”, she explained to the national daily, in tears.

Same “humiliating” experience for another 28-year-old Russian national. “Until further notice, all credit transfers to your accounts must go through the agency,” his adviser wrote to him, justifying this formality to him by the fact that “geopolitical events” oblige him to “respect the regulations on the accounts of customers of Russian origin”. Testimonials of this type are multiplying on social networks. A group has been created on encrypted Telegram messaging, it has more than 1,000 members. Together, they plan to initiate collective proceedings against the banks concerned, reports Le Figaro. Société Générale, BNP Paribas and Crédit Mutuel/CIC are particularly singled out. A petition on the change.org site, launched on Monday March 28, has exceeded 2,000 signatures. For the president of the association for the defense of bank users France Conso Banque, Michel Guillaud, interviewed by Le Figaro, this practice is “abusive” and “arbitrary”.

Further controls

For their part, the banks affirm that there is no discrimination against Russian nationals, but that “banking regulations require the verification of the data of its customers”, assures Société Générale, questioned by the national daily. No account that is not subject to European sanctions is closed or blocked. The “delays or blockages” observed are the consequences of more extensive controls, due to international sanctions against Russia. Same argument for BNP Paribas. Russian nationals then deplore the lack of communication from the banks.

According to Le Figaro, the problem was solved for some, after providing administrative documents. But others complain of being refused the opening of a bank account in France. “The bank told us that we could not open a joint account there given the political context, because there is a Russian national in the account”, explained this woman who was refused permission. opening an account at BNP Paribas with his French partner. However, as relates Me Florian Desbos, lawyer at the bar of Lyon, interviewed by Le Figaro, “banks can freely refuse to open an account, they do not have to justify their decision”.

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