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Interview – Michael Paradis Michael Paradis, Treasurer at Carpa Paris, explains to TMI a history of the company, the advantages of Carpa for the lawyer and client, and the structure of the treasury. He also discusses how the company is preparing for the disappearance of the ETEBAC protocol and the transition to SEPA.

Michael Paradis 

Treasurer, Carpa Paris

“This funding comes exclusively from financial products drawn from the investment of the managed assets”

When was Carpa Paris created?

Carpa Paris, the fund for lawyers’ financial settlements in the Paris courts, was set up by the president of the Bar, Claude Lussan, in 1957, in the form of a non-profit organisation under the law of 1901. Before this date, in fact, lawyers did not handle funds. Let me explain: lawyers drafted an act – transfer of business funds, transfer of businesses, etc., or they won a case for their client; but they didn’t have the right to see a contract or a procedure through to the end, because they could not receive the funds, representing for example the proceeds from the sale of a business, or damages, and distribute them among the  beneficiaries. 

Thus, the co-contracting parties or those involved in the trial sorted it out among themselves, at their own risk. Lussan’s idea was therefore to guarantee the handling of funds that were due to lawyers’ clients, as well as their correct distribution, whilst keeping control over the origin and destination of the aforementioned funds. Carpa Paris was thus created to receive these funds, check their origin and then distribute them to the beneficiaries.  There was never any question of lawyers receiving this money directly into their bank accounts, which could cause confusion between their turnover and clients’ money.

More precisely, what are Carpa’s advantages for the lawyer and the client?

As far as the lawyer is concerned, he is safe in the knowledge that Carpa Paris will have an objective control over the origin and destination of the funding that he places in his client’s account, particularly in the context of fighting against money laundering. More precisely, the lawyer deposits the funds into an account opened in his name in Carpa Paris’ books. Each transaction is isolated from the others in a sub-account of its own, so that there is no confusion between each of the lawyer’s clients.

I believe that Carpa Paris is much more responsive than certain banking or financial establishments.

Then Carpa Paris, after various checks, releases the funds as and when instructed by the lawyer, by issuing cheques that have the value of bank cheques, or by carrying out transfers for the financial beneficiaries. The client himself should in principle have many reasons to be happy with Carpa Paris’s services. Primarily, I believe that Carpa Paris is much  more responsive than certain banking or financial establishments. Indeed, let’s imagine a transaction, the transfer of a business for example, with a closure that could take until late at night. In this hypothetical situation, we can, if necessary, keep a team working all day and night, as well as weekends, even on 15 August (a religious holiday)  or 1 January; and release the funds as soon as the contract has been signed – of course, the funds will have been deposited beforehand by the buyer. 

The Funds Handling team comprises 25 people and has, therefore, the necessary capacity, not only for dealing with a great number of credit and debit operations, but equally to deal with this type of exceptional circumstance. One must remember that French banks have the legal right to reverse a debit entry within two months. Imagine, many weeks after the sale of his business, a seller discovering that the credit shown on his bank statement has disappeared. To avoid this sort of incident, we have put an agreement in place with our bank, BNP Paribas, so that once the funds are presented to Carpa Paris, the credit is guaranteed. After a relatively short period, the cheque sent from the sub account of the lawyer at Carpa thus offers the same security as a bank cheque, as we guarantee a definite payment to the beneficiary. Finally, note that Carpa Paris offers an interest rate of up to 1.05%, better than the Caisse des depots et consignations, provided that  funds are retained for a period of at least five months and amount to a minimum of EUR 75,000.

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