News / Europe

    France's Hollande Seeks to Widen Bank Fine Debate

    The logo of BNP Paribas is seen on top of the bank's building in Fontenay-sous-Bois, eastern Paris, May 30, 2014.
    The logo of BNP Paribas is seen on top of the bank's building in Fontenay-sous-Bois, eastern Paris, May 30, 2014.
    Reuters
    French President Francois Hollande sought to widen the basis of his fight against a possible $10 billion U.S. fine facing bank BNP Paribas ahead of a meeting with Barack Obama on Thursday, warning of “consequences across the euro zone”.
     
    Hollande was speaking to reporters after a G7 summit in Brussels late on Wednesday, and ahead of a dinner with the U.S. president after Thursday's D-Day 70th anniversary ceremonies.
     
    He has already said he will raise with Obama the issue of what he has called a “disproportionate” fine facing France's biggest listed bank, confirming that he wrote the White House a letter on the subject in April, and discussed it by telephone.
     
    Sources have said U.S. authorities are seeking a $10 billion penalty for alleged breach of U.S. sanctions via money transfers involving countries including Iran, Sudan and Syria.
     
    Hollande said he accepted that the U.S. justice system was independent but “at the same time we have a relationship between the United States and France, a partnership, and nothing should be allowed to compromise that.”
     
    Asked whether the BNP Paribas affair could affect trade talks between the two countries, he said: “We are engaged in other discussions and we expect reciprocity and respect.” He added that the affair “could have economic and financial consequences across the euro zone”.
     
    Late on Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the case and any penalty were a matter for the justice system. However, speaking on a visit to Beirut, he told reporters: “We obviously want whatever it is to be fair and to reflect an appropriateness to whatever it is that is alleged to have taken place.”
     
    Wider impact?
     
    Concern is growing at a European level about the scale of U.S. fines such as the one BNP Paribas may face. The affair comes after Credit Suisse pleaded guilty earlier this year to helping Americans evade taxes and agreed to pay $2.5 billion.
     
    Hollande's comments about a wider euro zone impact follow the intervention of European Banking Authority (EBA) chairman Andrea Enria on Wednesday.
     
    Enria told Reuters the rising penalties faced by some lenders had become a concern generally for regulators, and should be factored into this year's “stress test” of banks' financial health.
     
    “The point of conduct risks, and of the impact of these fines and penalties ... on a bank's capital position, is a concern,” Enria said.
     
    BNP has declined to comment on any details of discussions but has said it is in talks with U.S. authorities about “certain U.S. dollar payments involving countries, persons and entities that could have been subject to economic sanctions”.
     
    It has set aside $1.1 billion for a fine, but told shareholders it could be far higher than that. It has also said it has improved control processes to ensure such mistakes do not occur again.
     
    French Finance Minister Michel Sapin also weighed in on the subject on Thursday. “Paying for the past would seem to be legitimate, but paying for the future would seem illegitimate,” he told reporters.
     
    Responding to questions about whether he was talking about the risk that BNP Paribas could face a loss of its U.S. banking license, he added: “This is about all aspects [of the case]... There are other aspects in particular that touch on the bank's ability to work in a certain place or to act in a certain currency which, if they are excessive, would be unfair.”

    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