Tuesday, June 24, 2014

US, French bank close to deal on $9 billion fine

Posted on Monday, 06.23.14

US, French bank close to deal on $9 billion fine

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. government and French bank BNP Paribas are close
to a settlement over alleged sanctions violations that would require the
bank to plead guilty, pay almost $9 billion in penalties and face other
sanctions, a person familiar with the matter said Monday.

The person described the deal as imminent, but said it was not exactly
clear when it would be publicly announced. The person spoke only on
condition of anonymity because no agreement had yet been finalized.

BNP Paribas, SA, France's largest bank, has been under investigation for
financial transactions through its New York office for clients in Iran,
Sudan and Cuba in violation of U.S. trade sanctions. A report by the
Wall Street Journal said the bank intentionally hid $30 billion in such
transactions, by far more than in any such case so far.

The French economy minister, meanwhile, urged the U.S. Department of
Justice to be "fair and proportionate" when deciding on the potential
fine. Arnaud Montebourg, speaking on BFM television Monday, said the
U.S. has an unfair advantage in the global "economic war" because of a
law allowing prosecution of foreign companies for activities outside
American soil.

The French government has warned that a huge financial penalty would
have an impact on the whole European economy. Two other French banks are
under separate investigations for similar activities, and the resulting
fines could have repercussions on other companies that do business with
those countries as well as the United States.

But the White House this month deflected France's appeal to intervene,
with President Barack Obama saying he was prohibited by separation of
powers from getting involved and that he would read about the case "in
the newspapers just like everybody else."

Meanwhile, the bank said this month that a top executive, Chief
Operating Officer Georges Chodron de Courcel, would retire in September.
His term was to finish in 2016 and the bank did not explain the reason
for his departure.

U.S. banking regulators sought the departure of Chodron de Courcel and
other executives as part of the investigation.

Shares in BNP were flat in afternoon Paris trading.

Source: WASHINGTON: US, French bank close to deal on $9 billion fine -
Business Breaking News - MiamiHerald.com -

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