WRAPUP 3-U.S. imposes record fine on BNP in sanctions warning to banks

martes 1 de julio de 2014 10:20 GYT

* Bank persistently violated U.S. sanctions, authorities say

* Parts of bank banned from dollar clearing in 2015

* BNP says will keep 2014 dividend unchanged from last year

* Shares up 3.8 pct (Updates share price, regulator comments)

By Joseph Ax, Aruna Viswanatha and Maya Nikolaeva

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON/PARIS, July 1 (Reuters) - French bank BNP Paribas has pleaded guilty to two criminal charges and agreed to pay almost $9 billion to resolve accusations that it had violated U.S. sanctions against Sudan, Cuba and Iran, in a severe punishment aimed at sending a clear message to other financial institutions around the world.

The BNP Paribas guilty plea is the direct consequence of a broader U.S. Justice Department shift in strategy that is expected to try to snare more major banks for possible money laundering or sanctions violations.

In an unprecedented move, regulators banned BNP for a year from conducting certain U.S. dollar transactions, a critical part of the bank's global business, in addition to the fine which was a record for violating American sanctions.

"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 for clients subject to U.S. sanctions including Sudan, Iran and Cuba," the New York State regulator said.   Continuación...