BNP PARIBAS could face a fine of more than $10bn (£6bn) from the US Justice Department as part of its criminal probe into allegations the bank evaded US sanctions over Iran and other countries, according to reports last night.
The resolution of the investigation into the French bank is still weeks away. However, if the fine reaches the $10bn mark, as reported by the Wall Street Journal last night, it would represent one of the largest penalties ever imposed on a bank.
BNP and the US authorities are reported to be locked in negotiations over whether the bank will temporarily lose the ability to transfer money into and out of the US. The bank had warned that a fine for violating the sanctions could be significantly higher than the $1.1bn it has provisioned for.
BNP has already set aside around €2.7bn for litigation-related costs, including the provision for a breach of sanctions. Earlier this month, Credit Suisse pleaded guilty to a US criminal charge and will pay more than $2.5bn in penalties for helping Americans evade taxes.
BNP Paribas’ shares fell 3.9 per cent in New York to close at $34.67. Shares in Paris closed at €52.65.