November 28, 2017 / 9:20 AM / in a year

UPDATE 1-French banks did not break rules with National Front account closures - cenbank

* Le Pen complained of “banking fatwa”

* Le Pen still smarting from election defeat (Adds Le Pen, details)

PARIS, Nov 28 (Reuters) - French bank Societe Generale and its Credit Du Nord subsidiary did not violate banking regulations in shutting down the accounts of the far-right National Front party, the Bank of France said on Tuesday. National Front chief Marine Le Pen last week accused the banks, as well as HSBC which closed her personal account, of launching a “banking fatwa” to silence her party.

The banks declined to offer fuller explanations for the account closures but said they had acted within regulatory requirements.

“The closure of the National Front’s accounts by the banks does not appear to reflect wrongdoing vis-à-vis their regulatory obligations, and leaves no reason to believe they acted with discrimination,” the central bank said.

Le Pen said she would file a legal complaint this week.

“It will be up to the court to decide,” Le Pen said in an interview on BFM TV, adding that the account closures prevented the party from operating properly.

The Bank of France revealed that the National Front had held 16 accounts with Societe Generale until Sept. 25, as well as a deposit account with Credit Du Nord on which two months notice was given in late October.

That appeared to contradict Le Pen who last week said the central bank had ordered Credit Du Nord to manage an account for the party and that the bank had refused to process cheques and credit card payments.

Le Pen is smarting from defeat in this year’s presidential and parliamentary elections, during which she accused French banks of being politically biased for not lending to her campaigns. (Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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