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BNP Paribas Part of French Money Laundering Probe

BNP Paribas

Prosecutors in France reportedly launched a money laundering investigation that involves BNP Paribas.

The Paris prosecutor’s office is looking into allegations of “aggravated money laundering” connected to transfers made by a Cyprus-based brokerage that worked with BNP Paribas’ custodian unit, Reuters reported Tuesday (Dec. 26), citing Le Monde.

The investigation involves transfers worth several hundreds of millions of euros and dollars made by TCR International Limited between 2019 and 2021, the report said. The prosecutor reportedly began the probe following an alert by France’s anti-money laundering unit in May.

The prosecutor’s office said the transfers were of “possibly dubious origin and/or flows with no explicit economic logic,” although it did not refer to BNP Paribas, per the report.

BNP Paribas did not immediately reply to PYMNTS’ request for comment.

The news comes two weeks after officials in Europe launched an authority to battle money laundering and terrorism financing.

Known as ALMA, the group will have “direct and indirect supervisory powers over high-risk obliged entities in the financial sector,” the European Council said.

The group, a collaboration between the council and the European Parliament, wants to build an “integrated mechanism with national supervisors” to make sure financial sector players comply with anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT)-related obligations.

Meanwhile, financial institutions are dealing with a rising threat of fraud and financial crime.

“And as the volume and sophistication of fraudulent transactions continue to rise, FIs are turning to cutting-edge tools and technologies to enhance their security measures,” PYMNTS reported this month.

The study “Financial Institutions Revamping Technologies to Fight Financial Crimes,” a PYMNTS Intelligence and Hawk AI collaboration, found that last year, consumers lost about $8.8 billion to fraud, with bank fraud cases jumping by 25% compared to the prior year.

The findings match separate PYMNTS Intelligence research that showed fraud has risen for 43% of FIs compared to last year, with the average cost of fraud increasing by 65% for FIs with assets of $5 billion or greater.