BNP Paribas subject of full-scale Rwanda probe in France

PARIS, FRANCE, (REUTERS) – French judicial investigators have opened a full-scale inquiry into allegations of complicity in the 1994 Rwandan genocide, an official at the public prosecutor’s office said on Monday (September 25).

BNP Paribas bank, accused by non-governmental organisations of complicity over a transfer of $1.3 million (961,182.99 pounds) to an arms dealer, said the move was expected and not a surprise.

A BNP spokeswoman said “this in no way constitutes a new development.”

The full-scale inquiry follows a preliminary investigation that began earlier this year, when three non-government organisations filed a complaint on the matter.

One of the NGOs who made the allegation, Sherpa, said they traced the bank transfers made through a BNP account held by the National Bank of Rwanda to a South African arms dealer, basing their investigation on documents and a hearing with a Rwandan colonel.

In France, the opening of a full-scale inquiry does not imply guilt and does not automatically lead to a trial. It does imply that investigators believe the complaint or information gleaned during initial inquiries merits further investigation.