Putin Slams US $9 Billion Fine Against French BNP As "Blackmail" For Russian Warship Deal

Tyler Durden's picture

Recall that about a month ago we reported that shortly after France was stunned to see its largest bank slammed by its bestest buddy, the US, with a record $9 billion fine, "France responded to the fine by announcing it will train hundreds of Russian seamen to operate the French-Made Warship", the Mistral. In other words, for all the angry rhetoric of sanctions against Russia, France was merely the latest country to admit that it too can't exist without Russian business (not to mention natural gas) even if, or especially if, it means incurring US wrath which is taken out on its banking institutions. After all, if the US is engaging in scorched earth tactics France needs a stable trade partner, especially if it is one who turns on the gas, so to speak.

As a reminder, this is what all the commotion is about:


However, it turns out that was only a small part of the story.

Earlier today, when speaking to Russian diplomats in Moscow, Vladimir Putin accused the U.S. of blackmailing France to scrap a contract to sell Russia Mistral warships by offering to cut a record $8.97 billion fine against BNP Paribas. From Bloomberg:

France’s largest bank agreed to plead guilty in court documents yesterday to processing almost $9 billion in banned transactions involving Sudan, Iran and Cuba from 2004 to 2012. The company will be temporarily barred from handling some U.S. dollar transactions.


French President Francois Hollande has refused to cancel a contract to sell two Mistral-class helicopter carriers to Russia in the face of criticism from the U.S.


“We know about the pressure which our U.S. partners are applying on France not to supply the Mistrals to Russia,” Putin told Russian diplomats in Moscow today. “And we even know that they hinted that if the French don’t deliver the Mistrals, they would quietly get rid of the sanctions against the bank, or at least minimize them,” he said without naming BNP Paribas.


“What is that if not blackmail?” Putin said.

Well it is blackmail, but what's worse it shows to what depths the US will fall when it fails to get its way in the international arena even with its so-called allies, which under Obama, is essentially always.

But one wonders: since the biggest opponent of Russian sanctions in Europe is, by and far, Germany - despite what Merkel spouts any given day - and since Russia is sure to antagonize the US in the coming months, one wonders: just what legal and criminal action will the US reveal against Deutsche Bank in the coming months as first blackmail, then "punishment" for daring to engage America's suddenly most hated superpower adversary?

And perhaps a better question: with US foreign policy set to continue its disastrous ways, does this mean that the best way to profit from the incompetence of John Kerry et al is merely to short a basket of European banks? After all, if it happened with BNP it is sure to happen elsewhere in Europe -  a continent which, for better or worse, is now wrapped around Putin's gas finger.

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gallistic's picture

Call me dense, but I find your writing unintelligible.

Lingua franca is a term that goes beyond any literal Latin meaning.

It means language used for communication between two or more groups that have different native languages. It may be a standard language—for example, English is often used for international diplomacy, so it can be referred to as a lingua franca.

In the past, French was the lingua franca of Europe.

I am dropping this now...

Jano's picture

Yes, Napoleon made a trip to Moscow and in return the Russians have been marching to Paris.

The same was repeated by Pilsudski, he marched up to MOscow, killing 120.000 Russian soldiers and officers, POWSW and another 200.000 peasants.(Stalin Paied back at Katyn). And the Soviet Army marched to Warsaw in 1919....

The same was repeated by Hitler and the Russians once again marched from Moscow to Berlin.

novictim's picture

Regarding "paid back", you do know that the only folks that suffer in all these great conflicts are the poor, either in the form of the conscripted soldiers forced to kill members of their own class or in the form of the peasant starved or raped or murdered by, again, members of their own class?


Be careful with the Nationalist Lie of "the Enemy" that all the Elites use to get us to kill one another for their own sport.

novictim's picture

Also, why did you not mention the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact?  That should make a skeptic of any would-be nationalist I should think.

Jack Burton's picture

France would lose god knows how many high paying shipyard and technology jobs if they make a contract and then refuse to fill the orders they agree to. Russia, and the USSR, despite all the problems, has always filled it's gas contracts with Europe. This over many decades is a proven trach record and something that the USA hates. France has sky high unemployment, no way they are going to give up thousands of high paying jobs in order to prevent the USA form playing banker games with funny money. Banks produce nothing but debt and fraud. France wants these real jobs.

Son of Captain Nemo's picture

Great VOR interview with Dr. Paul Roberts and what is left of the Neocon agenda...


The only thing he left out is the possibilty that President Obama alluded to in March of this year -which I think even he as a Neocon doesn't really want!

Keep an eye on those "labor strikes" (notice the timing of President Remus' announcement 4 days later) by the Israeli bureaucrats as cover for another False Flag upon the rest of the World with it's embassies in them.

Talk about wanting coitus interruptus that a prostitute could ever have in a "Jon" and being warned by the SOB repeatedly what will happen if you try to make him pull out!...  That's what Zionist Jew "Do"!

And if you don't believe it -Just ask the guy who works for them!



22winmag's picture

Fines in the financial sector never seem to be for more than a few percent of the criminal proceeds involved.

What a joke.

SmittyinLA's picture

France should just agree to US demands, smile, shake hands and then continue business as usual like federal reserve officials. 

Lie and smile, like Eric Cantor

Duude's picture

Ya think Putin is full of a little too much self-importance?  Seriously delusional.

Obamanism's picture

So the French are fined $9 billion for trading with the enemy, no not Iran Cuba and such but with Russia. The Warship contract was $1.6 billion.

If the French were supplying cargo ships to help Wells Fargo and Wacovia smuggle drugs the fine would be $19million

JohninMK's picture

Since when has Russia been the 'enemy'? If it was that would make quite a few US companies 'traitors'.

No, they are a competitor that the US wants, even has, to restrain.

danster82's picture

Whatever this nutcase critisies will only give it credability. This guy is full throttle trying to revivie the soviet uninon.


Otto Zitte's picture

When AIPAC puts out hit pieces like this you know Putin is kicking ass and taking names. This is low grade cookie cutter smear propaganda. Just replace "Putin" and "Russia" with any politician and country and you'll get a valid reference.

yrbmegr's picture

Meanwhile, Russia's other customers are considering the wisdom of having more than one source of oil and gas, and US and European companies are lining up to be suppliers.  There are always alternatives.  Always.

JohninMK's picture

There may be alternatives to Russia but no-one else, apart from the Norwegians, can supply Europe via the cheapest delivery method, pipelines, for many years to come.

Sandmann's picture

If you cut Russian gas revenues you reduce the sales from VW factories in Russia and reduce exports of BMWs and sales of luxury German kitchens. Russians SPEND money on West European goods. What is the point in abusing people who have reliably supplied gas to Europe for DECADES (unlike Arabs) and reduce the incomes of the fastest growing consumer market in Europe ?


Why doesn't the US ban Chinese imports ?

Haager's picture

Crimea especially, and of course the Ukraine as a whole, is just another desperate attempt of ressource-poor but heavy dependant Europe to get some ressources in their hands. 

They would prefer gas from Quatar, brought through a pipeline crossing Syria, Turkey, Greece and Italy. They would prefer a pipeline from Saudi-Arabia/Irak going through Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Algeria, Spain/France. It's not cheaper, it's more risky and sources aren't democratic or are known for the goods of human-rights. To me it's warfare, purely designed to lock Russia out and to bring them down economically. 

Canucklehead's picture

Bring Russia down economically? Did you follow the winter olympics? The world laughed constantly at Russian expertise. Putin needed the Crimean experience to manage his domestic agenda. If there was no Crimea, he might have to answer for the corrupt mess called Sochi.

yrbmegr's picture

The moral of the story is that power is like the charge in a battery.  You can use it, but then you have to recharge it.  Putin used his power, and he may have gained, on balance, for the short term.  Here is the calculation:

1.  Putin gained Crimea, but at a large cost to Russia to provide water, for example.

2.  Turkey is working with Exxon to produce shale gas, at least in part to replace some supplies from Russia.

3.  US/EU, presumably featuring the Norwegians heavily, are working to supply gas to Ukraine, in total replacement of supply from Russia.

Net, Russia gains Crimea, with $5-10 billion infrastructure price tag.  Russia loses at least part of its business with Turkey and all of its business with Ukraine, along with the leverage that business carried.  Russia has a MOU with China on future gas.  And it's not clear whether Russia can hold onto Crimea.  Gain or loss?

Bankster Kibble's picture

Gain.  Crimea will be expensive to keep, but it can eventually pay for itself with its offshore gas fields.  Plus, Russia keeps NATO ships and missiles out of Sebastopol.  How much is that worth to Putin?  Quite a lot, I expect.  As for losing the gas account with Ukraine, they don't pay the bills even with discounted prices, so no big loss there.

SilvertonguedAngel's picture

You obviously don't recognize check mate when you see it...

lakecity55's picture

"Reggie, nobody understands the genius of my Foreign Policy."

"Poor baby. Why do you let Mooch boss you around? I'll have words with that Bitch, dumpling!"

Jerk_Store's picture

First "Freedom Fries" and now this.

zipit's picture

Haha, France!  That's a good one!

zipit's picture

DELETED (duplicate)

Otto Zitte's picture

The French sending Russian youth to die for them is... blackmail?

Otto Zitte's picture

If Putin was a Merkin, this is what he'd sound like:

Ryan Zinke (USN retired) for Congress