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The offer was tempting. Too much, finally. Launched in 2018, the Lille fintech Swoon, founded by Victoire and Quentin Haddouche, promised individuals an attractive savings account remunerated at 3%, thanks to a business loan model. Obviously, many were interested in the offer. First cautiously, by investing a few tens of euros. The sums quickly climbed to several thousand. “As soon as I saw the interest fall, I moved up a gear and finally invested 7,000 euros”, explained one of the victims, who, like 150 other former Swoon clients, is now looking to get his money back.

For this, about fifty of them have joined forces with France Conso Banques, the association responsible for centralizing complaints. Through their lawyer, Me Christophe Leguevaques, they filed a civil action in the context of a joint class action. Problem, the Swoon company was placed in compulsory liquidation last summer. Savers and their lawyers therefore turned to the parent company for compensation: the Financière de garantie. Also managed by the Haddouche family, it lent clients’ savings to various companies at the rate of 5%. Individuals pocketed 3%, and Swoon 2%.

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Criminal complaint for “fraud”

It is here that the bad news arrives for the plaintiffs. La Financière de garantie has also just been placed in receivership by the Lille Commercial Court on 28 March. A “great retreat”, regrets Me Leguevaques. “We don’t know how long it will be placed in recovery, but it won’t be able to remain so for long because the company no longer collects any resources, and repels potential buyers,” he continues. In the meantime, the financial can no longer pay its small creditors. Asked by the voice of the Norththe former leader of Swoon, Quentin Haddouche, and his lawyer Me Emmanuel Riglaire, explain that the process will be “very long” and that only 1 to 2% of customers have been reimbursed until then. The others will be “as soon as the funds [prêtés aux entreprises, NDLR] will return.”

Where then to find the money? With the Haddouch family, assures Me Leguevaques, since a criminal complaint has been filed against them with the Lille prosecutor’s office for “fraud”. The civil party is also turning to the banking establishments at the origin of this situation. Cyclical movements of money from France to Lithuania have been observed from the financial accounts. “We can therefore ask ourselves the question of the negligence of the bank on this specific point, believes the lawyer. These flows of money are also contradictory with the initial promise of financing French companies excluded from credit.

Expected court decision

Before even moving on to the merits of the case, the plaintiffs have an appointment on April 15.

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The Commercial Court of Lille must then decide whether the plaintiffs have the legal right to demand their reimbursement. Because when a bankruptcy occurs, the victims have an obligation to declare their claim a maximum of two months after publication in the Official Bulletin of Civil and Commercial Announcements (Bodacc). Otherwise, the claim is considered extinguished, and the plaintiffs dismissed. “We therefore asked for a statement of foreclosure to allow the plaintiffs to be compensated”, explains the lawyer, also a doctor of law.

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