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BNP Paribas 'close to $9bn settlement' with US

AFP

French bank BNP Paribas is close to a deal with US authorities that would see it pay between $8 billion and $9 billion along with other punitive measures for violating US sanctions, The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.

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BNP Paribas and US regulators have agreed to the broad terms of a deal after investigators alleged that the bank deliberately hid $30 billion worth of transactions with Iran, Sudan and Cuba between 2002 and 2009 that directly violated US sanctions.

As part of the deal, BNP would plead guilty to a criminal charge of conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and would be banned from making transactions in US dollars face for an as yet undetermined length of time, the Journal cited people familiar with the discussions as saying.

But it stressed that the two sides had only reached a general outline of a deal, though negotiations were in the final stage.

Senior BNP executive Dominique Remy resigned in mid-May after New York state banking regulator Benjamin Lawsky named him as one of the 12 officials who should step down due to their roles in the scandal, people familiar with the matter told AFP.

Over more than five years, BNP used regional banks abroad to route funds linked to Sudan-based companies and government agencies, in the face of US sanctions due to Khartoum practicing genocide, according to the Journal.

It said US authorities scrutinised a total exceeding $100 billion of suspicious transactions, eventually focusing on about $30 billion said to have been hidden deliberately to avoid US detection.

Most of the transactions involved Sudan, although others included Iran and other countries under US sanctions.

BNP is expected to plead guilty in early July, the Journal said, though the deal could be delayed.

French officials, including President François Hollande, have criticised the size of the fine as disproportionate to the offences.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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