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Societe Generale

Societe Generale

Industry: 
Banking
Value of USG Contracts: 
1
Symbol: 
EPA:GLE
States: 
NY
Country: 
France
Contact Information: 
Sources: 

“As part of talks in Geneva over the nuclear question, Tehran is pressing world powers to speed up trade finance arrangements on humanitarian deals involving both Western and Iranian banks, according to an Iranian government document seen by Reuters and sources familiar with the initiative. Iranian government officials and international trade sources say Tehran wants to simplify complex trade finance arrangements potentially worth billions of dollars, which would alleviate pressure on the country's sanctioned banking system…Iranian government officials said the document, which has been sent to Iran's Supreme National Security Council, tasked with safeguarding Tehran's interests, listed the following banks as ‘available for further actions’: Standard Chartered Bank (London), Societe Generale (Paris), Banque de Commerce et de Placements (BCP) (Geneva), UniCredit Bank (Munich), Commerzbank (Frankfurt), United Bank (Zurich) and BHF Bank (Frankfurt). It was not clear whether these banks had been approached to provide finance. Two business executives familiar with the initiative said they were aware that Standard Chartered, Societe Generale, Commerzbank were among those on the wish list. Commerzbank, Societe Generale, United Bank and BCP all declined to comment. A spokeswoman for Standard Chartered said the bank was not involved and would not get involved in any transaction with any party from Iran.” (Reuters, “Western banks cold-shoulder Iran trade finance scheme,” 3/13/14)

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"French banks Société Générale and Crédit Agricole are under U.S. investigation for alleged money laundering and sanction breaches involving Iran, Cuba and Sudan, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter, the latest case in a series of probes of European banks related to embargo violations. The banks are being investigated by the U.S. Treasury Department, the Justice Department, the Manhattan district attorney, and the New York Department of Financial Services, the person said. It's unclear at this point whether any charges could be brought against the two banks or whether the continuing probes could lead to potential fines, the person added. Société Générale and Crédit Agricole had previously disclosed talks with U.S. authorities over potential sanction breaches in corporate filings last year and in early 2010 without providing further details. Spokeswomen for Crédit Agricole and Société Générale declined to comment on the probes beyond the previous statements…Last month, France's largest listed bank BNP Paribas said it had set aside $1.1 billion to cover potential penalties related to transactions in countries under U.S. sanctions. This provision was booked in addition to the bank's existing legal provision of €1.68 billion ($2.34 billion) as of Dec. 31, 2013. The bank is in talks with federal and New York state officials to settle investigations of money laundering and sanctions violations in countries including Iran and Cuba, according to people familiar with negotiations. A BNP Paribas spokeswoman had declined to comment on the details of the probe. Société Générale and Crédit Agricole, however, may not face as large a fine as BNP Paribas could, estimates AlphaValue analyst Christophe Nijdam. ‘The provisions set aside by Société Générale and Crédit Agricole for potential litigation point to a much lower risk,’ added Mr. Nijdam. Société Générale had total provision for potential litigation of €700 million on Dec. 31, 2013, according to corporate filings. Crédit Agricole had set aside €1.1 billion for potential litigation on Dec. 31, 2012 and didn't say how much it had set aside for possible litigations in 2013.” (Wall Street Journal, “Société Générale and Crédit Agricole Under U.S. Investigation for Alleged Money Laundering, Sanction Breaches,” 3/7/14)

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“The broader banking sanctions still in place [under the interim deal] are creating some ambiguities. The senior banker said Iranian authorities told businessmen that seven European banks including Commerzbank and Société Générale had been designated to transfer the $4.2bn in blocked funds but 'some kind of dilemma' remained over which Iranian banks could receive the money as most are affected by the broader banking sanctions still in place.” (Financial Times, “Easing of sanctions raises hopes for Iranian economy,” 1/19/14)

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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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"Societe Generale SA, France's second-largest bank by market value, is cooperating with U.S. authorities looking into dollar transfers for clients in countries targeted by American economic sanctions. 'Societe Generale has started discussions with the Office of Foreign Assets Control,' the Paris-based bank said in its annual report today, without naming the clients or countries involved. The bank said it has begun an internal audit." (Bloomberg, "SocGen Cooperating With U.S. Authorities on Dollar Transfers, 3/7/13)

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"Top-tier financial institutions including Societe Generale SA GLE.FR -0.74% and Rabobank Group have stepped back from business with Iran in recent months, citing increased political risk and logistical hassles that attend even legal trade with the country... In response, Rabobank and Société Générale say they have stopped servicing Iran deals or curbed their trade finance." (The Wall Street Journal, "Willing Banks Find Profits in Legal Trade With Iran," 4/8/2012)

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"Present in Iran since 1974, our rep office in Tehran is primarily active in trade and export finance." (Company website)

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"Societe Generale has done business in Iran since 1974. Spokesman Jim Galvin said the office in Tehran continues to be active in trade and export finance." From 2000-2009, the company was a recipient of $1.4 million US federal funds.  They currently have active business investments in Iran.  (The New York Times, "Profiting from Iran, and the US," 3/6/2010)

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"The major French banks -- BNP Paribas, Calyon and Societe Generale -- have all stopped doing business with Tehran , while Total has frozen plans to invest in gas and LNG at the urging of its government." (Energy Compass, "Iran: Charm Mission," May 16, 2008)

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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", May 27, 2006)

Response: 

No response at this time.