France: BNPP Personal Finance in jail for deceptive practice, Company news

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France: BNPP Personal Finance in jail for deceptive practice, Company news

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(Repeat title to change Cetelem to BNPP Personal Finance)

PARIS, 4 Sept. (Reuters) – BNP Paribas Personal Finance, a consumer credit subsidiary of BNP Paribas, has been sent to correctional court for “misleading business practice” in a Swiss franc mortgage case. French bank.

The lawyer of the civil parties, Charles Constantin-Vallet, hailed in a statement “an important turning point that should allow for the compensation of all victims”.

A spokesperson for BNP Paribas Personal Finance (BNPPPF) for its part told Reuters that the group took note of the decision of the judges of the financial center of the Paris prosecutor in charge of the case but disputed the facts of which it is accused.

The loans in question, called Helvet Immo and for a total of approximately 800 million euros, were marketed by BNPPPF between 2008 and 2010 to more than 4,600 consumers.

They were issued in Swiss francs, a currency presented as a safe haven asset in the midst of the “subprime” crisis, but were repayable in euros.

However, the euro depreciated against the Swiss franc as a result of the financial crisis and borrowers faced a large increase in principal to be repaid, from 20% to 40% according to estimates, in addition to interest.

According to Me Constantin-Vallet, the total damage is around 600 million euros.

Since the end of 2011, the complaints have reached the Paris prosecutor’s office, which in April 2012 entrusted an investigation to the economic crime repression brigade.

The latter concluded in February 2013 that the misleading commercial practice offense did not appear to be well founded. But the prosecution maintained this indictment in an introductory indictment in March of that year and immediately opened a judicial investigation.

1,600 CIVIL PARTIES

Indicted for misleading business practice, the BNPPPF is notably accused of misleading its borrowing customers with false introductions.

The judges, whose order for referral to the Criminal Court of Paris was signed on 29 August, therefore consider the terms of the Helvet Immo offer to be misleading regarding the characteristics of the credit, the exchange risk, the increase in residual capital and the uncapping of the monthly installments.

In total, more than 1,300 civil proceedings have been launched before all types of courts in France and more than 1,600 people will be civil parties during the criminal trial, Me Constantin-Vallet recalls.

The Consumers’ Association Consumption, Housing and Living Environment (CLCV) has also launched a collective action.

BNPPPF continues to defend itself against any violation.

“Nous prenons acte de cette ordonnance. BNP Paribas Personal Finance responds to termes de cells-ci devant le tribunal et conteste, comme elle a toujours fait, les faits qui he sont reprochés”, a dit à Reuters une porte-parole de the society.

“Since January 2012, several jurisdictions have made decisions,” he added. “A majority ruled in favor of BNPPPF, believing that the offer was in compliance with the law and that there had been no violation of its duty to inform”.

A law dated July 26, 2013 prohibits lending in foreign currency for consumers without income or assets in that currency. (Emmanuel Jarry, edited by Jean-Baptiste Vey)


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