France's Hollande blasts US for going after corporate Europe

French President Francois Hollande. © Stephane De Sakutin
French President Francois Hollande has criticized Washington for imposing multibillion dollar fines on major European companies while shielding American firms.

"When the Commission goes after Google or digital giants which do not pay the taxes they should in Europe, America takes offense," Hollande said in an interview with L'Obs magazine.

Hollande accused the US of “shamelessly” demanding an almost $9 billion fine from French bank BNP Paribas. He also mentioned Deutsche Bank. The US Department of Justice wants $14 billion from the German bank it accuses of fraudulent behavior with mortgage-backed securities before the financial crisis.

This is why Paris never backed a free trade agreement with the US, added the French President.

Hollande's speech comes a few days after a French parliamentary report blasted Washington for more and more aggressive use of extraterritorial laws that have resulted in billions in fines and settlements from European companies.

Last week, the chairman of the German parliament’s economics committee Peter Ramsauer said Washington has a “long tradition” of waging trade wars favorable to the US economy, and the Deutsche Bank case is an example.

Another German Politician, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ally and MEP Markus Ferber said the Deutsche Bank probe was a “tit for tat response” for the €13 billion penalty Brussels imposed on Apple for tax avoidance in Europe.