* Les Echos says govt considering 50 pct rate
* No comment from Sarkozy's office or finance ministry
* Officials working on details-govt source
(Adds comments from French government source)
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
PARIS, Dec 10 France could follow Britain's lead
by slapping a special tax on bank bonuses for 2009 but has yet
to agree a rate, government sources said.
No official comment was immediately available from the
office of French President Nicolas Sarkozy or the finance
ministry. The French Banking Federation declined to comment.
Three French government sources said officials were
examining technical details of a levy, carrying on from a speech
by Sarkozy ahead of a meeting of Group of 20 countries in
"We're still working on the ways and means," he said. "The
British have set a level of 50 percent. We need to do technical
work to see what the impact would be. It's too early to say it
would be such-and-such a percent," one official said.
"In any case, it shouldn't be much of a surprise. The
president said in his speech on August 25 that all G20 countries
should implement a policy on bonuses. This is part of that."
Les Echos newspaper said the tax would apply to bankers who
receive bonuses of more than 27,000 euros ($39,710) and would be
set at 50 percent.
Earlier on Thursday, the Wall Street Journal published an
article by Sarkozy and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown
calling for an exceptional tax on global bank bonuses.
British finance minister Alistair Darling on Wednesday said
banks operating in Britain would be charged a 50 percent tax
rate on staff bonuses of above 25,000 pounds. [ID:nGEE5B7176].
Bankers in London's influential City financial district
criticised the plan [ID:nGEE5B81WI], while a leading Paris-based
investment banker said ways would be found to avoid it.
"The banks and hedge funds can just increase the basic
salary or pay out the bonuses off-shore. It does not make much
economic sense as it won't bring in much money to the state,"
said Saxo Banque France head Pierre-Antoine Dusoulier.
France's top banks are BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA), Credit
Agricole (CAGR.PA), Societe Generale (SOGN.PA), BPCE and Credit
For Reuters Breakingviews on bank bonus tax, click on
[ID:nGEE5B90VL] and [ID:nGEE5B90TY]
(Additional reporting by Anna Willard, Dominique Vidalon and
Matthieu Protard; editing by David Cowell)