News / Economy

    BNP Nears Up to $9B Settlement With US Authorities

    FILE - The logo of BNP Paribas is seen on the bank's building in Paris, May 30, 2014.
    FILE - The logo of BNP Paribas is seen on the bank's building in Paris, May 30, 2014.
    Reuters
    French bank BNP Paribas SA is likely to pay $8 billion to $9 billion as part of a potential settlement with U.S. authorities over violations of sanctions, according to a person familiar with the matter.
     
    U.S. authorities are investigating whether BNP evaded U.S. sanctions relating primarily to Sudan between 2002 and 2009, and whether it stripped out identifying information from wire transfers so they could pass through the U.S. financial system without raising red flags, sources have said.
     
    The size of the potential fine has been a source of tension between France and the United States, with French President Francois Hollande warning against a “disproportionate” penalty that might damage France's biggest listed bank.
     
    A big penalty could not only hit BNP's capital position and dividend, but could weaken its attempts to expand in North America as it strives to raise revenue and profits outside its traditional European markets.
     
    The U.S. investigation has turned up books and records violations in transactions involving Sudan, Iran and Cuba, a source familiar with the matter said on Sunday.
     
    A BNP spokeswoman declined to comment.
     
    French Finance Minister Michel Sapin on Monday did not comment on a possible deal, but repeated the French position that any penalty should be fair and proportionate.
     
    “The French state, the government... has played its role in telling the Americans: 'Be careful - by all means punish the past but don't punish the future,'” he told France Info radio.
     
    Earlier in the month, Reuters reported that U.S. authorities negotiating with BNP at one point suggested a penalty as high as $16 billion, although that was viewed as a negotiating tactic in response to an offer from BNP of about $1 billion.
     
    BNP, the biggest collector of investment-banking fees in France according to data from Thomson Reuters and Freeman Consulting, has been negotiating on an almost daily basis with U.S. authorities for weeks.
     
    Guilty plea?

     
    The potential settlement could include BNP pleading guilty to a criminal charge of violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, another source familiar with the matter has said. The potential settlement was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
     
    A further source close to the situation said BNP could accept a guilty plea, but it was unclear if any charge would be against the parent group or at a subsidiary level, such as the Swiss unit including its Geneva commodity trading center.
     
    BNP was the world's top financier of commodity trading throughout the 1990s and 2000s. However, it has drastically reduced staffing in its Geneva and Paris offices over the past two years as it cut some of its riskier business and studied implications of the U.S. investigation, BNP insiders and senior trading executives have told Reuters.
     
    BNP's revenue targets for its trade financing business could be missed due to the investigation, analysts at Jefferies said in a note last week, citing the risk of it losing business.
     
    The bank faces other penalties such as being suspended from clearing clients' dollar transactions, sources close to the situation have said. A source familiar with the matter said on Monday parties were still negotiating the duration of any ban.
     
    The U.S. investigations are being conducted by authorities including the U.S. Justice Department, the U.S. Attorney's office in Manhattan, the U.S. Treasury Department, the Manhattan District Attorney's office, and the New York Department of Financial Services.
     
    The New York Department of Financial Services, which oversees certain banks in New York, would not revoke the bank's license to operate in New York if BNP agreed to other stiff penalties, a source has said.
     
    The state regulator has sought the termination of more than a dozen employees as part of the settlement, at least some of whom have already left.
     
    Shares in BNP were little changed at 1500 GMT.

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    World Currencies

    EUR
    USD
    0.9105
    JPY
    USD
    106.21
    GBP
    USD
    0.7618
    CAD
    USD
    1.3171
    INR
    USD
    67.348

    Rates may not be current.