Activist on trial for 'pinching' a French bank's chairs to highlight tax evasion

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An activist has gone on trial in a town in south-west France for having “requisitioned” some chairs from a bank. Jon Palais and others took the chairs as part of a wider protest against tax evasion and the use of tax havens which costs France billions of euros a year. The bank in question, BNP Paribas, took exception to the protest and made a formal complaint over their “stolen” chairs. But as Dan Israel reports, the legal complaint backfired as Palais and his supporters turned the trial into a media event in which the bank's own actions were held up to scrutiny.

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It is a fair bet that if the French bank BNP Paribas had known how events would turn out, they would not have made a formal complaint against so-called “chair pinchers”. The trial of one of the activists who had taken the bank's chairs in a self-styled “citizen requisition” to highlight tax evasion took place at Dax in south-west France on Monday January 9th. It did not go too well for the giant financial institution.