France Furious At US $10 Billion BNP "Masterful Slap", "Racketeering" Fine

Tyler Durden's picture

With Eric Holder suddenly playing hardball with the banks (most notably not US banks), it has not gone unnoticed among the largest European newspapers. The potential $10 billion penalty for BNP Paribas - France's largest bank - for alleged dealings with a sanctioned Iran has been called a "masterful slap," by Le Monde and Le Figaro said the U.S. was making an example of BNP to deflect criticism it had been "lenient with the American banks responsible for the financial crisis." This could make for an awkward week for Obama, not only facing Putin as he visits Europe to celebrate D-Day but as the allies themselves turn on him with France's Hollande likely to raise the matter and, as Bloomberg reports, newly elected National Front party called on the French government to "defend the national interest" in the case.


As Bloomberg reports, following Eric Holder's plan to fine BNP Paribas $10 billion over dealings with sanctioned nations,The French are crying foul...

Le Monde in its May 31 edition called the possible fine a “masterful slap.” Le Figaro newspaper said the U.S. was making an example of BNP to deflect criticism it had been “lenient with the American banks responsible for the financial crisis.” Hollande may raise the matter with Obama this week, Les Echos reported today, without citing anyone.

This would be the largest criminal penalty in US history - which some are claiming is unfair...

“If this results in a guilty plea, it is likely to increase debate in France and the rest of Europe about the essential fairness of U.S. criminal procedures,” said Frederick T. Davis, a lawyer at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP in Paris and a former U.S. prosecutor.

Europe is not happy...

“This affair is part of Washington’s hegemonic ambition in law and commerce,” said Jacques Myard, a lawmaker from Former President Nicolas Sarkozy’s UMP Party. “Washington has the annoying habit of trying to apply its laws outside its jurisdiction and use its strength for commercial ends.”




“Megaphone diplomacy is not what’s called for here,” Le Guen said on BFM television. “The United States can’t treat its allies like this.”




In a statement on its website, the National Front accused the U.S. of “racketeering,” in an effort to weaken BNP and aid its American rivals. “We demand that the French government not stay idle,” the statement said.

It seems this week might be a busy one for Obama as he visits Europe...

“It would be unacceptable for the French government to do nothing at a time when the European Union is negotiating a free-trade accord with the U.S.,” he said.

And as if that was not bad enough, just this week, Goldman Sachs has downgraded the French bank from "conviction buy" because a potentially meaningful financial penalty in the US curtails the
outlook for capital return.

On excess capital optionality, the Wall Street Journal reported (May 29) that the
US Department of Justice is seeking more than US$10 bn for the alleged violations of US economic sanctions for US$ transactions with certain countries. If this were the case then the hit to CET1 from additional provisions would reach c.110 bp of RWAs and lower the CET1 ratio to 9.5% pro forma on 1Q14. The company has provisioned US$1.1 for a potential penalty; however the final impact could be significantly larger than this.


For purposes of our analysis we incorporate additional provisions in expectation that BNP will face a US legal penalty in the amount of US$7.5 bn, based on the midpoint of the latest two amounts reported in the press (US$ 10bn, WSJ, 5/29/2014; US$ 5bn, Reuters, 5/21/2014).


Recent reports have introduced wide-ranging outcomes. Other examples suggest that settlements can reach the top end of the range (e.g. media put Credit Suisse litigation charge at $1bn, rising to $2.5bn. The settlement on May 20 was $2.6bn). This reduces our 4Q14 CET1 capital estimates to 10.2%.

So - sell French banks and... buy US banks? Seems like the Treasury's Terrorism unit is working full-time these days.

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Badabing's picture

I fart in your general direction sir.

I don't think France can end the double standard

dontgoforit's picture

Rube Goldberg is alive and well.

Anglo Hondo's picture

Instead of Helpless Europe,  perhaps "Hapless Europe" is more appropriate.

SoilMyselfRotten's picture

Remember how big a fine Halliburton received when it got caught for its backdoor dealing with Iran several years back?? Close your eyes, what do you see?

Georgia_Boy's picture

Silly Europeans, you can skim and screw the little guys here in the USA all you want and the government will shrug, but two things you must not do: 1. Double-cross the MIC, and 2. Help people not pay their taxes.

ThisIsBob's picture

Just putting France in the mood to help out with sanctions.

Headbanger's picture

Yeah but they'll be joining Putin sanctioning the US.

Don't be surprised to see France give the US the finger now and cozy up to Russia.

Remember, France re-joined NATO only five years ago so they're still not so gung-ho about it IMO.

tonyw's picture

wasn't there some little dispute about not being able to change notes for gold?

OpenThePodBayDoorHAL's picture

LOL Holder "cracking down on banks" LOL

Five minutes after the Credit Suisse fine was announced their CEO declared "this will have no material impact whatsoever on our operations".

NoDebt's picture

Yeah.  You really gotta be a little nuts to be a US ally these days.  We shaft our allies worse than we do our enemies.

eurogold's picture

Yes, it's not enough that the U.S. pisses Russia + China off. Now Europe is being attacked to perpetuate the distraction from problems at home. Sink the petrodollar now !


Lost My Shorts's picture

Probably everyone in Europe knows the score.  If big banks fleece the American people, c'est la vie.  If big banks deal with Iran, however, it upsets a certain lobby that matters more than the American people, and that is a whole different matter.  The Frogs know who is pulling the strings there, and what it means politically to push back, and they know Obama is not even the one to talk to.

TideFighter's picture

This administration's blame-the-other-guy meme is stronger than ever and has gone full retard. And when a repub can't be blamed, they blame an object; website, video, french fries, etc.

Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Hey, it's called the Department of Just Us for a reason.

dontgoforit's picture

The upper GI is the Belgium'd - the enema is the Cyprus'd - that'll be next.

rtalcott's picture

 the U.S. was making an example of BNP to deflect criticism it had been "lenient with the American banks responsible for the financial crisis." 


Huh? This makes no sense...bad translation?

AnAnonymous's picture

It only makes no sense when you cant admit that the financial crisis origin was in the US and not Zimbabwe as 'americans' like to alledge.

And/or when you cant admit that US Americans have carefully avoided applying punishment against their own banks.

centerline's picture

Actually,  just to be more precise... US and London combined with many other nations to a lesser extent playing the game.

Oh regional Indian's picture

Holy something or the other.

AnAnonymous is 8+ and 2 -  arrows......

We have clearly arrived at a major ZH tipping point!!!

That, or the Murikans are yet to wake up and engage!


centerline's picture

lol.  He might have just slipped a little!  Looks like he has since stepped his game back up.

Oh regional Indian's picture

The fourth stooging clearly has not woken up yet! :-)

How goes your centering practise my friend?

centerline's picture

Is going.  One day at a time!

dontgoforit's picture

We Americans just don't like being blamed for an administration without a clue.

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

Oh regional Indian said:

The fourth stooging clearly has not woken up yet! :-)

Hey, not true, I've been awake for several hours now.

Besides, even though he has stated in the past many times that the red-green arrow thing is an 'american' affliction (probably has something to do with being part of a group, and for 'americans' the group is all) I still gave AnAnonymous a +1 up green arrow on his comment above.

When someone is correct, they are correct. Who they are is not a mattering thing.  :-)

Buckaroo Banzai's picture

If he had left out the Zimbabwe non-sequitur, he might have gotten 100% green.

Strange days indeed.

AnAnonymous's picture

The Zimbabwe non sequitur?

What a strange way to put it. On this site, full of enlightened 'americans' and 'american' truth seekers, it was used to paint Zimbabwe as a cause of the financial crisis that started in 2008.

People are responsible for their words.

Uh, no, not 'americans'...

AnAnonymous's picture

There are new batch of 'americans' on this site. Considering the tension throughout the world, they are easily confused into thinking that 'americans' exclusively mean US American citizens (the big bad US of A) while 'americans' means of course the proponents of 'americanism', who are to be found in many places around the world.

As soon that new batch of 'americans' come to the realization that 'americans' do not mean exclusively US American citizens but mean people who support the 'american' mind, set of beliefs etc... they will downvote, as in a pavlovian reflex, because they know 'american' include them as well.

The way it works in an 'american' world: one might point fingers at anyone but 'americans' Every set of beliefs might be questioned but 'americanism'

People in power are people you cant speak of.

StychoKiller's picture

Even a blind sow can find an acorn once in awhile.

SpanishGoop's picture

He you Americans do you know what you can do with your penalties, fines and sanctions (and add  TTIP to it) , stick them somewhere where the sun never shines.


gmrpeabody's picture

You are brutal... even for fight club.

NoDebt's picture

Everyone's grumpy when they first wake up (to the truth).  Let him have his coffee and he'll mellow out.

venturen's picture

As trade protect ampliied the great depression...criminal bank rackteering is going to bring about depression 2.0

Oh regional Indian's picture's already ON like Donkey Dong!

forrestdweller's picture

American goverment working side by side with american banks to rule the world.

cherry picker's picture

Would someone take Air Force One and the pen away from Obama, let him play golf and Kerry sit on his yacht before they start WW3 with their incompetence.

By the way, quit paying CIA, NSA and TSA.  Maybe that will set things right.

AnAnonymous's picture

'Americans' and the extension of the base: two french 'american' newspapers are quoted and that makes it the largest European newspapers.

Would be funny to see how it is dealt with by the other european press, that might actually welcome the US American move.

But, hey, for 'americans' the group is all and their group is big and their group is strong. Better that when you run a business of extorting the weak, farming the poor.

Whoa Dammit's picture

I hear the country of Tuvalu (9 square miles, population 12,000) is still our staunch ally and friend so all is well in the geopolitical sphere.

Latitude25's picture

Tuvalu is supported by New Zealand.

Latitude25's picture

How can some dickhead political appointee in the US place fines on a foriegn bank?  Is there no such thing as sovereignty?

markar's picture

Like other large  EU banks, BNP is a ward of the Fed. They do what their told in exchange for life support.

Derezzed's picture

That will teach France that there is nothing to gain from playing US vassal and puppet. Let the Brits be their puddle "à la Blair", they fit that role perfectly

AnAnonymous's picture

That is the contrary. The 'american' french who owed their feeble independence in the 'american' world order to their african backyard, are catching up on their new status of fully integrated lieutnants to the ganglord, the US.

As another sign, an 'american' french car firm is being compelled by the US of A to stop selling cars to Iran (the amount of cars sold to Iran accounts for a sizeable share of their sales volumes)

Thing is that that 'american' french firm sells no car in the US so the US could not call for a boycoot to punish non aligned response to the demand.

These days are the days of 'americans' vs 'americans'.
'Americans' in order to ensure stability to their inconsistent societies relied on one trick: using other people (most of the times, the coloured) as a buffer to soak all the shit that comes out of an 'american' society. And that is a lot because, by nature, 'american' societies are very hostile.

Now the buffers are saturated and there is no other way than going against 'americans'.

Every single 'american' middle class that is trashed in France is room given to sustain the 'american' middle class in the US.

The way it works in an 'american' world.

hairball48's picture

Who really gives a shit about a Frog bank, or any bank for that matter?

Fuck all the banksters.

Mabussur's picture

I know the answer to that !

It's short sighted assholes like yourself that cannot see that very few countries in the EU have the political and financial weight to shatter the american made union and by doing so delaying (or possibly denying) the US of the world hegemony it seeks. A case of don't shit where you eat.

Azannoth's picture

This is nothing else that Monkeys throwing Shit at each other .. I say let them throw.