BNP Paribas Pleads Guilty In U.S. Court, Will Pay $8.8 Billion Fine

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The logo of French bank BNP Paribas is seen above the facade of their central Paris agency June 30, 2014. The U.S. Justice Department is expected to announce on Monday a settlement with BNP Paribas involving a record fine of nearly $9 billion over alleged U.S. sanctions violations by France?s biggest bank, sources familiar with the matter said.

Update 7:55 p.m. EDT: BNP Paribas (PA:BNPP) Chief Executive Officer Jean-Laurent Bonnafe told retail clients the U.S. settlement over sanctions violations will not affect them and its pricing policy will remain unchanged, Reuters reports.

"The absolute safety of all the assets that you have entrusted to BNP Paribas is guaranteed and obviously there will be no changes to our pricing policy," Bonnafe said in a statement published on the bank's website Tuesday morning, Paris time.

Update 5:40 p.m. EDT: Investigators came to the fine amount by looking at transactions and found $8.8 billion they could prove "dollar for dollar" was criminally linked.

Update 5:23 p.m. EDT: The $9 billion "walking out the door" is shareholder money, says FBI Director James Comey.

"Corporate choices have consequences... [BNP] ignored U.S. sanction laws and concealed its tracks," U.S. Deputy Attorney General James Cole said at the DOJ news conference.

Original Story

French banking firm BNP Paribas has pleaded guilty to felony charges in a U.S. court for doing business with Iran and other U.S.-sanctioned countries, including Sudan and Cuba. The bank will pay a record $8.8 billion fine.

BNP Paribas is charged with falsifying records and conspiracy by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. in New York. The U.S. says BNP did not cooperate with the federal investigation.

Assistant District Attorney Ted Starishevsky said the bank engaged in a "long-term, multi-jurisdictional conspiracy" to violate sanctions laws by facilitating transactions involving Sudan, Cuba, and Iran.

"This conduct, this conspiracy was known and condoned at the highest levels of BNP," Starishevsky said.

BNP Paribas is Europe’s second largest bank behind HSBC.

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