Credit Agricole has announced a 13% growth in revenues this quarter compared to last year, but it now has allegations of money laundering to contend with.
The French bank Credit Agricole has reported solid results for the third quarter of 2023, with growth of over 13% in revenues compared to last year, driven by all sectors of the business.
However, the good news was offset by criminal allegations of“money laundering and concealment” that an NGO filed against the bank later on Wednesday over its alleged support for companies responsible for illegal deforestation.
Credit Agricole’s stated revenues reached €6.343 million, while its underlying results, which remove non-recurring costs and one-off losses/gains from the equation, reached €6.060 million.
The company attributed this success in a statement to a continuous flow of partnerships and development projects, including the consolidation of European operations.
“The Group furthers its commitment to both enable French housing and owning systems and to support long-term societal changes,” said Dominique Lefebvre, chairman of the Crédit Agricole’s board of directors. “I would like to thank all our representatives and coworkers who act every day to attend to customers’ needs.”
The bank’s share price rose to €11.76 at noon CET in response to the news, compared to €11.60 at the same time yesterday.
Credit Agricole has a significant European portfolio: It controls Europe's largest fund manager Amundi and is planning on acquiring Belgian wealth management firm Degroof Percam for €1.5 billion, according to Reuters.
‘Money laundering, handling stolen goods, and illegal deforestation’
As Credit Agricole celebrated its ongoing work towards achieving net zero under its climate strategy as part of its Q3 results, it was hit by a barrage of criminal allegations linked to claims of unlawful anti-ecological practices.
French NGO Sherpa announced on Wednesday that it had filed a criminal complaint against Credit Agricole and three other banks, over allegations they made investments between 2013 and 2021 totalling almost $70 million (around €65.6 million) in two companies that engaged in illegal deforestation.
The two firms, JBS and Marfrig, have “a proven history of illegal deforestation, land grabbing by indigenous peoples and forced labour in their beef supply chains", explained Sherpa in a press release.
According to the NGO’s analysis, the fact that the banks may have received interest from money derived from illegal activity, and that they may have assisted in the investment of these funds, constitutes a breach of their obligation to combat money laundering.
While Sherpa states that its criminal complaint on the grounds of money laundering and handling stolen goods is a "first" for banks, it comes against a growing backdrop of legal disputes relating to the preservation of the planet.
At the time of publishing, Credit Agricole had not responded to Euronews’ request for comment.