The banks that closed accounts belonging to French National Front leader Marine Le Pen and her far-right party “had good reasons to do so,” France’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said Saturday.
Le Pen said last week that Société Générale, France’s third-largest bank by market capital, told her and other National Front members that it wanted to end their banking relationship. She also claimed the head of HSBC called her to say the bank was closing her personal account.
“If Société Générale closes the accounts of the National Front, and also I point out that another bank closed the personal account of Marine Le Pen, it’s because it had good reasons to do so,” Le Maire told radio station France Inter.”I trust French banking institutions.”
Le Maire added that he has asked the Bank of France to confirm whether Société Générale and HSBC followed the law. The bank’s governor will release his findings on Monday, he said.
“My duty as economy and finance minister is to verify the law has been complied with,” Le Maire said. “I am convinced that the law has been complied with and that these banks had good reasons to take these decisions.”
French banks are legally allowed to close accounts without giving a specific reason, so long as they provide notice in advance. Both banks said they followed their regulatory requirements, Reuters reported.
Le Pen last week called the move to “banish” her and her party members “a political decision.”