PARIS, March 20 French bank Credit Agricole
plans to contest a decision by French tax authorities
to bar a tax deduction it sought on the sale of its Greek
Emporiki unit, newspaper Le Monde said on Wednesday.
Credit Agricole's top management is still making a final
decision on filing a lawsuit to challenge the decision, which
unexpectedly cost the bank 838 million euros ($1.08 billion),
pushing fourth-quarter writedowns to 4.53 billion, the newspaper
A Credit Agricole spokeswoman declined to comment.
At issue is whether a change in a tax law passed in August
could be applied retroactively to a recapitalisation of Emporiki
in July. The law change prevented banks from deducting losses
like those suffered by Emporiki ahead of its 2.3 billion-euro
capital injection by Credit Agricole.
The capital boost was a condition of Credit Agricole's sale
of Emporiki to Alpha Bank of Greece, which closed last month.
Credit Agricole's chief executive Jean-Paul Chifflet
complained against the move, which the bank was told of just
days before its year-end earnings report, even talking to French
Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault about it, the paper said. But
Ayrault stood by the government's decision, according to Le
The challenge would begin at an administrative court but
could ultimately be referred to France's highest administrative
court or its constitutional court because of the retroactiviy
(Reporting By Christian Plumb; Editing by Greg Mahlich)