French bank BNP Paribas has agreed to pay a record $8.9 billion (6.5 billion euro) fine for US sanctions violations and enabling the activities of terrorists and human rights abusers in Sudan and other countries.
Regulators in the United States also banned it from carrying out certain US dollar transactions for a year, an important part of the bank’s international business.
“This outcome should send a strong message to any institution, any institution anywhere in the world that does business in the United States, that illegal conduct will simply not be tolerated and wherever it is uncovered it will be punished to the fullest extent of the law,” said Eric Holder, US Attorney General.
BNP Paribas’ general counsel, Georges Dirani, appeared in New York state court to plead guilty to falsifying business records and conspiracy.
BNP took steps to evade sanctions against Sudan, Iran and Cuba between 2004 and 2012.
The court found that the bank essentially functioned as “the central bank of Sudan”, concealed its tracks and refused to cooperate when it was first contacted by US authorities.
BNP Paribas’ CEO has said the US settlement won’t impact retail clients and its pricing policy will remain unchanged.