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French government scrutinising company executives' tax affairs

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PARIS (Reuters) – The French government is cracking down on business chiefs of companies listed in France to make sure they are paying their taxes in France, Budget Minister Gerald Darmanin said in a newspaper interview on Sunday.

President Emmanuel Macron had already signalled a hardening stance on corporate tax affairs in a December speech aimed at quelling unrest in France following weeks of sometimes violent protests over a perceived squeeze on household incomes.

“As the president has said, the heads of companies listed in France, or which count the French state as a shareholder, must under all circumstances be tax residents in France,” Darmanin told the Journal du Dimanche (JDD). “We’re in the process of making sure of that, and we’re ready to take any necessary measures if it were not the case.”

Darmanin did not detail whether the French government had any particular companies in its sights.

Macron has faced a wave of discontent across France with street protests over the past month and a half that originally stemmed from anger over planned fuel tax hikes, which the president later cancelled.

The “yellow vest” protesters – named after the high visibility gear French drivers have to carry in their cars in case of emergency – staged more demonstrations on Saturday and clashed with police in several cities, though turnout was down from previous weeks.

Macron has so far refused to reinstate a wealth tax he scrapped early into his tenure in 2017, which earned him a “president of the rich” tag among his critics that he has struggled to shake off.

But he made other concessions to protesters, including by announcing wage rises for the poorest workers and tax cuts for pensioners.

(Reporting by Sophie Louet and Sarah White; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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