UPDATE 2-France's BNP to pay $9 bln in U.S. sanctions case, face dollar-clearing ban

lunes 30 de junio de 2014 18:30 GYT

(Adds detail from news conference; increases settlement total; adds video links)

By Joseph Ax and Aruna Viswanatha

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON, June 30 (Reuters) - French bank BNP Paribas on Monday agreed to pay almost $9 billion over charges it violated U.S. sanctions against countries such as Sudan, and faces a one-year suspension of parts of its U.S. dollar-clearing business.

The bank also pleaded guilty to two criminal charges. The bank's general counsel, Georges Dirani, briefly appeared in New York state court to plead guilty to one count of falsifying business records and one count of conspiracy.

U.S. authorities found that BNP Paribas had evaded sanctions against a range of black-listed countries, in part by stripping information from wire transfers so they could pass through the U.S. system without raising red flags.

"Through a series of egregious schemes to evade detection and with the knowledge of multiple senior executives, BNP employees concealed more than $190 billion in transactions between 2002 and 2012," the New York State regulator, headed by Benjamin Lawsky, said in a press release.

No individuals were charged on Monday, but U.S. authorities said they have not wrapped up their probes.

"The case which BNP is pleading to now is against the corporation alone, but our investigation into potential individual culpability is continuing," Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said in an interview on Monday.

BNP laid out the terms of the $8.97 billion deal in a statement. "We deeply regret the past misconduct that led to this settlement," BNP CEO Jean-Laurent Bonnafe said.   Continuación...