Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business


Paribas pays penalty

August 2014

BNP Paribas, France’s largest bank, has agreed to pay a penalty of almost $9bn (£5.26bn, €6.65bn) to settle charges of breaking US trade sanctions against Cuba, Iran and Sudan through transactions amounting to $30bn.

The total penalty is by far the heaviest ever imposed on a bank. Other conditions of the deal are that the bank will be banned from clearing any US dollar transactions in 2015 and must fire and not rehire 13 employees associated with the sanctions offences. All BNP dollar transactions during the year will be through a third party.

Laurent Fabius, France’s foreign minister, has called the penalty unfair and unreasonable. By contrast, Frances Coppola, a former banker and finance writer, who noted the bank’s persistent evasion of sanctions, said in the Forbes magazine: “Despite the apparent severity of the penalty, [BNP Paribas has] actually got off lightly.”

BNP Paribas | Europe | Business ethics

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