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BNP Paribas Closing in on Settlement with U.S. Government

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The French bank BNP Paribas SA is bound to pay between $8 billion and $9 billion to settle with authorities from the United States regarding violations of sanctions, according to a report from Reuters.

Authorities from the United States have been investigating the bank, trying to determine if it skipped sanctions involving Sudan from 2002 to 2009. The investigators are also looking to determine if the bank took information out of wire transfers so they would pass through United States financial systems without any red flags popping up.

Negotiations between the bank and the United States have been taking place for weeks. An unnamed source who spoke with Reuters said that the investigation has found more than $100 million in records and books violations for transactions that involved Cuba, Sudan, and Iran.

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A possible settlement could have the bank pleading guilty to criminal charges of violating the International Emergency Powers Act. The Wall Street Journal initially reported the potential settlement.

Michel Sapin, the French Finance Minister, spoke on French radio, but did not comment about any potential settlement.

“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’,” Sapin said on France Info.

The investigations are being run by the United States Attorney’s Office in Manhattan, the United States Justice Department, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, the United States Treasury Department and the New York Department of Financial Services. The New York Department of Financial Services said it will not revoke the license of the bank if the bank agrees to pay stiff penalties, which means it will still be allowed to operate in New York.

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