UPDATE 1-French minister questioned SocGen over Panama Papers
(Adds details from Le Monde interview)
PARIS, April 6 (Reuters) - French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said on Wednesday he had questioned the head of Societe Generale bank about its record creating shell companies and opening client accounts in Panama.
SocGen was this week ranked fourth in a list of international banks creating shell companies in Panama since the 1990s, with a total of 979 created.
The list was based on leaked documents from a law firm, dubbed the Panama Papers, that showed possible fiscal wrongdoing using offshore company structures.
"What is important to me ... is what happened over the past few years, for example, did Societe Generale - through an affiliate or by itself - open offshore accounts and shell companies with intent to hide something, and in particular to hide money to escape tax ... I told him I want everything to be put on the table," Sapin said on Europe 1 Radio, of the meeting which took place on Tuesday evening.
SocGen, one of France's top three banks, led by Chief Executive Officer Frederic Oudea and Chairman Lorenzo Bini Smaghi, said on Monday it abided by all the rules of the countries in which it operates and was proactive in fighting tax fraud.
Sapin told Le Monde newspaper the French prudential authority could pursue investigations in France and at Societe Generale's affiliates in Luxembourg.
France will press the G20 forum of global economic powers to devise financial sanctions against jurisdictions that do not share information in the fight against tax evasion, Sapin added. (Reporting by Andrew Callus; Editing by David Holmes and Mark Potter)
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