Page last updated at 12:56 GMT, Thursday, 26 March 2009

France set for bank bonuses ban

French President Nicolas Sarkozy in northern France on 24 March 2009
President Sarkozy is responding to public anger over bank bonuses

The French government is to issue a decree banning bonuses and share options for executives of banks that have received government aid.

Presidential official Claude Gueant said the decree would be adopted next week as employers refused to draw up their own code of conduct.

Bonuses to executives of troubled banks have caused anger across the world.

US lawmakers have voted for a 90% tax on big bonuses to employees of banks that have taken government funds.

"A decree will be issued next week to set conditions under which the distribution of stock options or other advantages like bonuses is forbidden for companies that have benefitted from state aid," said Mr Gueant.

"Capitalism is there to enrich all the population and not just the bosses," he added.

Public anger

There was a public outcry earlier this week when it emerged that executives at Societe Generale had been given share options after the bank received state funding.

A number of banks in Europe and the US that have lost billions of dollars on bad loans during the credit crunch have been bailed out by government funds.

Some of these banks have subsequently paid out big bonuses to top executives, arguing that they could not renege on legally binding agreements.

Such arguments have done nothing to assuage public anger that taxpayer money is being used to reward the very people that many argue helped bring about the financial crisis in first place.

In the US, there has been outrage that insurer AIG paid out $160m (£110m) in bonuses after taking $170bn dollars in aid from the government.

President Barack Obama expressed his anger and lawmakers voted to claw back 90% of the bonuses through tax.

But no major economy has gone so far as to impose an outright ban on bonuses.

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