BNP Paribas is reportedly likely to be suspended from converting foreign currencies to dollars on behalf of clients in some businesses for as long as a year.
That is according to a Reuters story quoting sources familiar with the matter.
The temporary ban is expected to be limited to certain business lines related to the underlying transactions in question, and it would span various geographic regions, one of the sources said on Wednesday. Business lines that have come under scrutiny include oil trade financing.
The severe penalty – which has not been used before against a global bank – would be part of the punishment of the French lender for allegedly persistently violating US sanctions laws.
BNP Paribas is said to be close to reaching a settlement with US authorities under which it would plead guilty to a federal criminal charge and pay nearly $9 billion (6.6 billion euros).
The probe centres on whether BNP evaded sanctions relating primarily to Sudan, Iran and Cuba between 2002 and 2009.
The investigation has turned up some $100 billion (73.5 billion euros) in transactions processed by BNP that disguised identifying information in order to pass through the US financial system without raising red flags, Reuters has reported.
Around $30 billion (22 billion euros) of the transfers specifically violated US sanctions, one of the sources has said.
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