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BNP Paribas

BNP Paribas

Industry: 
Banking
Value of USG Contracts: 
25
Symbol: 
EPA:BNP
States: 
CA
FL
NY
PA
Country: 
France
Contact Information: 
Sources: 

“BNP Paribas SA pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court to violating U.S. sanctions after agreeing last week to pay a record $8.97 billion to resolve state and federal probes that reached the highest echelons of French and American diplomacy. BNP, France’s largest bank, admitted it violated the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the Trading with the Enemy Act by processing almost $9 billion in banned transactions from 2004 to 2012 involving Sudan, Iran and Cuba. U.S. District Judge Lorna Schofield in Manhattan, accepted the plea entered today by Georges Dirani, the company’s top lawyer. She set the bank’s sentencing for Oct. 3… Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Goldstein outlined the totality of the bank’s crimes for the judge, citing evidence including banking records, interviews with employees and communications.’BNP engaged in a long-running conspiracy to violate the U.S. embargoes against the Sudan, Iran and Cuba,’ Goldstein said.” (Bloomberg, "BNP Paribas Pleads Guilty in U.S. to Violating Sanctions," 7/9/14)

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"French bank BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA) has pleaded guilty to two criminal charges and agreed to pay almost $9 billion to resolve accusations that it had violated U.S. sanctions against Sudan, Cuba and Iran, in a severe punishment aimed at sending a clear message to other financial institutions around the world…In an unprecedented move, regulators banned BNP for a year from conducting certain U.S. dollar transactions, a critical part of the bank's global business, in addition to the fine which was a record for violating American sanctions.U.S. authorities said the severe penalties reflected BNP's violations going back to at least 2004 and through to 2012 and its drive to put profits first, even after U.S. officials warned the bank of its obligation to crack down on illegal activity." (Reuters, "U.S. imposes record fine on BNP in sanctions warning to banks," 7/1/14)

 

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"BNP Paribas SA and U.S. prosecutors have agreed to broad terms of a deal in which the bank would pay $8 billion to $9 billion and accept other punishment based on what investigators say is evidence the bank intentionally hid $30 billion of financial transactions that violated U.S. sanctions, according to people close to the probe... A majority of those transactions involved Sudan, though BNP also facilitated such transfers for Iran and other sanctioned countries... About a decade ago, BNP became the preferred bank for Sudanese companies and government officials seeking to do business in dollars without running afoul of U.S. sanctions, according to investigators. In 2007, the bank announced it would no longer do business in Sudan. In the case of Iranian transactions, the bank had to admit as recently as last year that it had found additional transactions for sanctioned entities." (WSJ, "BNP Near Settlement With U.S. for Up to $9 Billion," 6/23/14)

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"U.S. Treasury officials granted BNP Paribas permission to do limited business in Iran earlier this year, as federal prosecutors were negotiating a potentially stiff penalty to resolve the French bank's alleged violations of U.S. sanctions against Iran, Sudan and other countries, according to government records reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. BNP Paribas was granted two licenses allowing the bank to conduct certain commercial and financial transactions in Iran, according to documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. The licenses were granted in February and March as prosecutors sought to punish the bank with a hefty fine, which may ultimately exceed $10 billion, according to people familiar with the matter. Prosecutors are also seeking a guilty plea and a restriction on the company's ability to move cash in the U.S., these people said. It is unclear why BNP sought the Iran licenses or why Treasury officials granted them at a time when authorities were seeking to punish the bank over alleged sanctions violations in that country. Treasury declined to comment." (WSJ, "U.S. Granted BNP Iran Licenses During Penalty Talks," 6/11/14)

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“BNP Paribas SA shares fell Friday, as investors reacted negatively to the prospect of the bank facing more than $10 billion in fines to settle allegations it skirted U.S. sanctions.  Shares in the bank lost as much as 6% in early trading in Paris, dropping below €50 a share ($68).  The push to secure a high-dollar penalty, along with a guilty plea from BNP, stems in part from what prosecutors viewed as the bank's longtime flouting of U.S. economic sanctions against Iran, Sudan and other countries, the people said… ‘We are used to seeing penalties wipe out a quarter's profits, but $10 billion will wipe out a full year for BNP so market reaction will probably be somewhat greater,’ Mizuho credit strategist Roger Francis said. BNP Paribas reported a $6.5 billion net profit for 2013. Excluding one-off losses, including a $1.1 billion provision booked to cover potential U.S. penalties, net profit stood at $8.1 billion in 2013.” (Wall Street Journal, “BNP Paribas Shares Drop After U.S. Pushes for Huge Settlement,” 5/30/14)

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“BNP Paribas is in talks with U.S. authorities to pay more than $3 billion to resolve probes into whether the French bank violated U.S. sanctions on Iran, Sudan and other countries, people familiar with the matter said. The bank warned last month it faced fines in excess of $1.1 billion over the matter, but declined to provide a specific number. The probes are being conducted by 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. BNP Paribas declined to comment on Tuesday on the size of any fine. Prosecutors have also pushed the bank to plead guilty to criminal charges as part of a resolution, sources have said. The Justice Department has faced criticism that it has shied away from prosecuting financial companies accused of engaging in misconduct…Last Thursday, BNP Paribas Chief Executive Officer Jean-Laurent Bonnafe and the bank's lawyers met with the New York Department of Financial Services, the state's banking regulator, and made a plea for leniency, one source said. The source said the regulator, led by Benjamin Lawsky, wouldn't revoke the bank's license if other stiff penalties were included in the settlement. Such penalties could include temporarily suspending dollar clearing through New York and terminating more than a dozen employees, though no final decision has been made, the source said.” (Reuters, “BNP Paribas may pay more than $3 billion to end probes: sources,” 5/13/14)

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“BNP Paribas, France’s biggest bank, warned that it might be hit with a fine in the United States “far in excess” of the $1.1 billion it set aside last year to cover litigation costs linked to a potential breach of American sanctions on countries including Iran. The warning is a fresh sign of mounting legal woes for the global banking industry, which has been hit with investigations for a string of alleged misdeeds, including fixing benchmark interest rates and manipulating foreign exchange markets. ‘There is uncertainty with respect to the amount and the nature of penalties the U.S. will impose,’ BNP’s chief financial officer, Lars Machenil, told Reuters Insider television. ‘It’s not impossible that the fine is far in excess of the provision,’ he added. When asked if the fine could reach $2 billion or $3 billion, Mr. Machenil said: ‘There is nothing more to say’…BNP otherwise reported a better-than-expected 5.2 percent rise in first-quarter net income on Wednesday, with the effects of its full takeover of its Belgian subsidiary Fortis last year helping to counterbalance write-downs on assets exposed to the crisis in Ukraine and rising loan losses in Italy.” (New York Times, “BNP Paribas Says U.S. Fine Could Be Much Bigger Than It Had Expected,” 4/30/14)

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"BNP Paribas, France's biggest listed bank, has set aside $1.1 billion for a possible fine for breaching U.S. sanctions on countries including Iran, the latest bank to take a hit to profit from a legal investigation. As well as facing tougher regulations in the wake of the financial crisis, banks across the world are under investigation for a string of alleged misdeeds, including fixing benchmark interest rates and manipulating foreign exchange markets. This month, Credit Suisse set aside 514 million Swiss francs ($570 million) to cover U.S. investigations, while in January Deutsche Bank blamed legal costs for a surprise quarterly loss. BNP said on Thursday it had set aside the funds after talks with the U.S. authorities, though it said there had been no discussion on the size of any potential penalty. ‘We've been doing a retrospective review for several years and we've basically now presented our findings to the U.S. authorities,’ BNP Chief Financial Officer Lars Machenil told Reuters Insider TV…BNP's provision - which was accompanied by restructuring costs and writedowns on the acquisition value of BNP's Italian unit BNL - dragged fourth-quarter net income down to 127 million euros ($173 million) from 519 million a year earlier, offsetting a rise in group revenue and gross operating profit. Analysts had been expecting a net profit closer to 1.0 billion euros, according to a Thomson Reuters poll of analysts.” (Reuters, “BNP sets aside $1.1 bln for possible U.S sanctions fine,” 2/13/14)

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“A delegation of some of France's biggest companies will visit Iran next month to seek business as relations thaw with western powers, the head of the employers' union said on Wednesday…The prospect of an easing of trade restrictions has whetted the appetite of French firms eager to win back business in a country where some used to have extensive operations. The French Medef bosses' association has organized the visit for February 2-5, its president Pierre Gattaz told a news conference, confirming a report about the trip in the Wall Street Journal…Former French ambassador to Iran Francois Nicoullaud told Reuters that French firms that operated in Iran before the sanctions wanted to return. He cited Renault, PSA Peugeot Citroen, Airbus Group , Credit Agricole, Societe Generale and BNP Paribas.” (Reuters, “French trade delegation to visit Iran next month,” 1/15/14)

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"French banks BNP Paribas (BNP) and Credit Agricole are conducting internal inquiries into U.S. dollar payments to check whether they are potentially in breach of American sanctions, the banks said on Monday... 'We are conducting an internal review,' said a spokesman for BNP, citing a disclosure from its 2011 annual report that said the probe concerned 'certain U.S. dollar payments involving countries, persons and entities that could be subject to U.S. sanctions,' adding that hte bank had spoken to American regulators." (Reuters, "French banks investigate potential breach of U.S. sanctions," 8/27/12) 

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"BNP Paribas respects the embargo on Iran," spokesman Ilias Catsaros said. "The bank stopped writing new business in Iran as of 2007 and has since been winding down its existing activities."  The company has received $37.6 million in revenue and benefits from the US government for their investments in Iran during 2000-2009.  Their activities in Iran are currently active with no plan for new investments. (The New York Times, "Profiting from Iran, and the US," 3/6/2010)

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"GIANTS WITH A FOOT IN TEHRAN: Total, Shell, Statoil, BNP Paribas, Commerzbank, MTN, UPS, Linde, Technip, Nokia, Ericsson, Peugeot, Renault, OMV, Societe Generale, ENI, Mitsubishi, Sumitomo, Siemens, LG, Samsung, Bosch, Valeo, Nestle, Unilever, BAT, Japan Tobacco." (The London Times, "American pressure threatens UK firms," 5/27/06)

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