French shares underperform after BNP Paribas hit by possible fine
* FTSEurofirst 300 index falls 0.1 percent
* CAC 40 weighs on European shares
* BNP slumps on report of possible $10 billion fine
* ECB easing hopes fuel monthly rise (Updates with closing prices and no other changes to text)
By Alistair Smout
EDINBURGH, May 30 (Reuters) - French shares underperformed on Friday after a report saying the U.S. Justice Department was pushing blue chip bank BNP Paribas to pay more than $10 billion to resolve a criminal inquiry.
The French bank's shares were down 2.5 percent after earlier falling around six percent after the Wall Street Journal reported the figure late on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter. The case relates to allegations that the bank evaded U.S. sanctions against Iran and other countries for years. BNP and the Justice Department declined to comment.
The bank had set aside around 2.7 billion euros ($3.7 billion) for litigation-related costs.
"We had already reduced our position slightly at the start of the year ... Now that with these headlines the stock has dropped heavily, we haven't touched it. We don't dare accumulate more at this stage," Yohan Salleron, fund manager at Mandarine Gestion in Paris, said. Continuación...