French court fines Natixis 7.5 million euros in sub-prime exposure case

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FILE PHOTO: The logo of French bank Natixis is seen on one of their buildings in Paris
FILE PHOTO: The logo of French bank Natixis is seen on one of their buildings in Paris, France, April 7, 2021. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

June 24, 2021

PARIS (Reuters) -A French criminal court on Thursday ordered investment bank Natixis to pay a 7.5 million euros ($8.95 million) fine after finding the lender guilty of misleading investors in 2007 on its financial strength related to its sub-prime exposure.

The lender denied any wrongdoing. A lawyer for the bank said it was assessing a possible appeal.

Natixis was among the French banks hit the hardest by the crisis in 2007, when bonds backed by low quality mortgages – dubbed sub-prime loans – collapsed, causing losses for many lenders as the fallout spread through financial markets.

Natixis was eventually rescued by its parent bank BPCE and was later restructured.

The case centred on a statement published in November 2007 by the bank regarding its subprime exposure. Natixis said it was not misleading as it could not have anticipated how the crisis would later escalate.

French shareholders association Adam filed a complaint in 2009 on behalf of hundreds of retail investors, demanding investigations into Natixis’ financial communications from 2006, when the bank was listed, until 2009.

The French financial watchdog AMF also looked into whether Natixis misled investors during the 2007 sub-prime crisis but decided not to bring any charges against the bank.

($1 = 0.8377 euros)

(Reporting by Matthieu Protard; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta, Richard Lough and Edmund Blair)