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Germany, France seek European position on US bank fines

© AFP/File | The entrance of a BNP Paribas bank is seen on April 14, 2012 in ParisThe entrance of a BNP Paribas bank is seen on April 14, 2012 in Paris

France and Germany hope Europe can draw up a common position on the massive fines being imposed by the United States on foreign banks, a finance ministry spokesman said Monday.

After French bank BNP Paribas was hit with a record fine by US authorities and with several other European banks now in their crosshairs, the topic "is under discussion between Germany and France," the spokesman said.

Paris and Berlin had decided that "the issue be discussed at a European level," he told a regular government news briefing.

The Financial Times reported Monday that France has gathered support from fellow EU members such as Britain, Italy and Germany to challenge US regulators on their heavy penalties.

France wants the issue discussed at the next G20 meeting in Australia in November, the newspaper reported.

BNP Paribas was fined a record $8.9 billion (11.9 billion euros) for violating US sanctions against blacklisted countries, including Iran and Sudan.

Other banks, including German giant Deutsche Bank, and Italy's UniCredit, are also under investigation by Washington.