Sanctions Busting With Iran And Sudan: U.S. Reportedly Seeking Settlement With Germany's Commerzbank

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Entrance of the German Commerzbank headquarters is pictured in Frankfurt
Big banks throughout Europe posted 2011 losses Thursday as the fallout from Greek loans rippled throughout the region.

The U.S. is continuing to pursue fines against European banks for doing business with nations it’s sanctioned, and the latest target is Germany’s Commerzbank (GER:CBKG).

Reuters, citing a source with direct knowledge of the investigations, said Tuesday that state and federal regulators have begun talks with Commerzbank, but there is no sign of a settlement. If it does settle, Reuters said it’s likely the bank would be allowed to avoid criminal prosecution in exchange for a hefty fine, a so-called deferred prosecution.

News of the probe comes little more than a week after major French bank BNP Paribas (FRA:BNPP) 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.

Commerzbank is 17 percent owned by the German government, and according to the New York Times is accused by Washington transferring money through the U.S. for clients Iran and Sudan.

Another big German bank, Deutsche Bank (GER:DBKGn), is also being investigated, according to Reuters, along with France’s Credit Agricole (FRA:CAGR) , Societe General (FRA:SOGN) and Citigroup Inc.’s (NYSE:C) Banamex unit.

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