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French embassy rapped for online banking link

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French embassy rapped for online banking link
French embassy website. (Screenshot)
10:17 CEST+02:00
The website of the French embassy in Switzerland removed a link that allowed users to open a Swiss bank account online after the government in Paris came under fire from an opposition critic.

The link directed users to a private consulting firm offering the banking help.

But on Tuesday the link was removed, the embassy told the French-language AFP news service.

This followed a written question aired in the French National Assembly by Laure de la Raudière, an Opposition MP from the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) party, and directed at Laurent Fabius, France’s minister of foreign affairs.

The MP called attention to a “useful links” tab under the Switzerland section of the embassy’s website including one entitled in French, “La Suisse est à vous”, or “Switzerland is yours.”

The title of the link continued, “invest and settle in Switzerland. Very thorough website.”

By clicking on the link users landed on another website, www.switzerland.isyours.com, which allowed people to open a Swiss bank account directly online, De La Radière said.

The MP for the Eure-et-Loir region wanted to know how such a link could be provided by the French embassy.

She found it stunning that the embassy would provide visitors with such information while the government was supposedly “fighting against tax fraud and the flight of the biggest French fortunes abroad.”

A spokesman from the French embassy in Switzerland told AFP that its website included a number of useful links to help French citizens who move to Switzerland for professional reasons.

“There are more than 180,000 French citizens living in Switzerland,” the spokesman noted.

However, in this case the link was removed because it was a mistake to direct the reader to a private consulting firm, the spokesman said.

“It was an anomaly that was corrected.”    

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