The US Bank That Made BNP's Epic Money-Laundering Possible Is...

Tyler Durden's picture

Today's undisputed winner of the prestigous award for best use of the word "unwittingly" in the headline of an article about money-laundering goes to Bloomberg, for their brilliant...


Because when you help a foreign bank violate U.S. sanctions as French bank BNP did when it hid billions of dollars in transactions involving Sudan and Cuba and yet you somehow completely slip through the fingers of the US Department of Justice (sic), it can only be "unwittingly."

Recall that "BNP Paribas, France’s largest bank, agreed June 30 to plead guilty to processing almost $9 billion in banned transactions involving Sudan, Iran and Cuba from 2004 to 2012. The company, which will pay a record $8.97 billion in penalties, will also be temporarily barred from handling some U.S. dollar transactions." But certainly not all.

But how did JPM end up in the, yes yes unwitting, position of helping the biggest money laundering operation since HSBC decided to fund terrorist organizations around the world?

BNP Paribas turned to JPMorgan on the basis of legal advice from Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, said two people who asked not be named because the identities of the bank and the law firm haven’t been disclosed. The Paris-based lender relied on a legal memo that suggested using a U.S. bank might protect it from sanctions penalties, according to the statement of facts filed by prosecutors in New York.

Wait, so the name of JPM in the complaint hasn't been revealed. Supposedly this is because of JPM's "unwitting" innocence, as it would be uncouth to soil JPM's fair name by appearing in a lawsuit whose main role is to punish France for opposing the US and delivering an amphibious assault ship to Russia.

JPMorgan is referred to as “U.S. Bank 1” while Cleary Gottlieb is identified as “U.S. Law Firm 1” in the court filings, the people said. Cleary Gottlieb later said such transactions may be illegal. Neither JPMorgan nor Cleary Gottlieb are accused of wrongdoing.

But wait, what if one actually, gasp, connects the dots as Bloomberg appears to have done:

In 2011, JPMorgan paid $88.3 million to settle an unrelated civil probe into transactions involving Cuba, Iran and Sudan. Investigators at the Treasury Department cited incidents in which JPMorgan managers and supervisors “recklessly failed to exercise a minimal degree of caution or care” in their sanctions obligations. The bank said at the time that none of the alleged violations was intentional.

In other words, the bank wired money to Cuba, Iran and Sudan accidentally. But... it doesn't read so accidental to us:

BNP Paribas used a network of non-U.S. banks, including at least nine Arab banks, to disguise U.S. dollar transactions, according to court papers. “To the U.S. bank, it appeared that the transaction was coming from the satellite bank rather than a Sudanese bank,” according to the statement of facts filed in court, which BNP Paribas admitted to as part of its settlement.


BNP Paribas would transfer funds from a Sudanese bank to an account maintained by one of the satellite banks, according to the filing. The satellite bank would then transfer the money to the beneficiary by submitting the funds through JPMorgan without any mention of Sudan, according to the statement of facts, which identified the bank only as “U.S. Bank 1.”

But... that doesn't sound unwitting to us. Not unwitting at all. Actually, it gets even worse:

The plan to use JPMorgan was put together by BNP Paribas executives in Paris and Geneva in the fall of 2004 after transactions involving overseas clients caught the attention of U.S. and state regulators, according to the statement of facts. BNP Paribas signed documents with the regulators in September of that year promising to improve its compliance systems.


Shortly thereafter, senior BNP Paribas executives met in Geneva to discuss how “embargoes against sensitive countries,” specifically Sudan, Libya and Syria, would affect the bank’s business, according to the statement of facts. They discussed using an unaffiliated U.S. bank to process payments involving countries subject to U.S. sanctions, the document states. Until then such transactions were being handled by BNP Paribas’s New York branch.


Following that meeting, BNP Paribas employees in Geneva were instructed to have U.S. dollar payments involving sanctioned entities cleared through “U.S. Bank 1” instead of BNP Paribas’s New York unit. "From 2004 through 2007, the vast majority of BNPP Geneva’s transactions involving Sudanese Sanctioned Entities were cleared through U.S. Bank 1 using a payment method that concealed from U.S. Bank 1 the involvement of Sanctioned Entities in the transactions,” according to the document.

Oh yes, because JPM did 3 years worth of billion dollar transactions without having a clue who was on the other end.  Well, the did one time:

In February 2006, JPMorgan rejected a transaction submitted on behalf of a Cuban credit facility after “back office employees had inadvertently made reference to Cuban entities,” the document states. Two other payments were also blocked by BNP Paribas’s New York branch. BNP Paribas resubmitted all three transactions after eliminating the references to the Cuban entity, according to the document.

And after any reference to Cuba was quietly stripped, all continued as per normal, with JPM wittingly not asking a single question where all this money is coming from, and certainly where it is going.

So in conclusion, it was “BNPP’s handling of these blocked payments was indicative of the bank’s cavalier -- and criminal -- approach to compliance with U.S. sanctions laws and regulations,” according to the statement of facts.

It definitely was not JPM's "cavalier - and criminal - approach" for being the bank that enabled BNP's money laundering in the US in the first place, something which resulted in a whopping $88.3 million fee charged to Jamie Dimon's Congressional lobbying account. That was clearly unintentional. Because when transacting billions from two offshore accounts and never even pretending to care where the money comes from and goes to, as the US implies by not charging JPM as well, it can only be "unwitting."

End result, for the same violation:

  • JPM paid a settlement of $88.3 million and neither admitted nor denied anything
  • BNP has so far paid a penalty of $8.97 billion and numerous people have lost their jobs (even if again nobody is going to prison, as they may sing and who knows which president, premier, congressman, minister, managing director or central banker will be named...)

Thus, new normal justice (sic).

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Sudden Debt's picture

Only fair that they also pay 8 billion to europe now :)

Ole OBOMO!! Justice!

Let's see how American justice works :) now one of the American landlords has to pay.

WeNeedaRealGovt's picture

Obama is the best president!  4 more years!!! 

Manthong's picture

He will probably write an Executive Order suspending the 22nd Amendment.

DeadFred's picture

He will need a significant false flag event to justify a third term, much bigger than the Boston Bombings.

Emergency Ward's picture

Barack has always insisted that nukes are an option when dealing with "national security" concerns.

nink's picture

<-- They should all get a bonus for getting away with it.

<-- They should all get a bonus for staying quiet. 

Oracle 911's picture

Hard choice.

BTW it is just me or the world is really turning into a strange Onionisqe parody of itself, or more into a work of Gogol.

RiverRoad's picture

Of course!  Nothing is ever INTENTIONAL......

fauxhammer's picture

This news is not hard to swallow

Mae Kadoodie's picture

Cunning CEO, a dimon in the ruff.

americanreality's picture

Good stuff.  Let me try... Use a dental dam if you insist on chowing a prostitute's box.

Canadian Dirtlump's picture

They don't call him buttmunch for nothing.


To the point here, as they say ignorance is no defense. If you or I accidentally break the law we end up from anywhere from a fine, a pair of irish sunglasses, a stay in the crowbar hotel or 3 warning shots int he back. Like I've said before laws and regulations serve to backstop the success and captive markets the big boys enjoy.

RaceToTheBottom's picture

Highlights the fallacy of "Know your customer" regulations.

A criminal organization will act as a criminal organization

remain calm's picture

Nothing a little over dose of radiation can't cure, better than a nail gun

syntaxterror's picture

JPM pays $10 billion fines every other quarter to President al-Barrak, so this is bullish.

Canadian Dirtlump's picture

Funny, I wonder where these fines end up? I mean Lord knows they don'r help any "victims." The question is really rhetorical as these fines are the modern day equivalent of buying your way out of hell.

Silver_K-9's picture

Two Words... #ThroatCancer...

Do I wish it was Testicle Cancer....?


Canadian Dirtlump's picture

I'd like to see him contract testicular cancer by face fucking himself.

Stonedog's picture

I'm certain that the higher ups in JPM were shocked to find that there was gambling... excuse me... money laundering occuring at their bank...

G.O.O.D's picture

Seems to me the Rothie Banksters are trying to keep the US dollar as the world reserve currency by turning the fiat water hose on high and pointing it at the moon.

souljaboy's picture

Is there ever a convenient time to get throat cancer? I'm asking for a friend.

Seize Mars's picture

JPM is a criminal enterprise, and always has been. Morgan himself was a fucking Rothschild stooge.

The king has no clothes.

Ban KKiller's picture

I "unwittingly" did SO many bad things! It was the voices in my head telling me that banksters are evil fucks. 

Dimon, please step out on a tall ledge. Don't forget your nail gun and shitgum too. 

Berspankme's picture

#jamiedimon isadicksuckingswinepigfucker

Die motherfucker

world_debt_slave's picture

bankers and corrupt politicians go hand in hand

Happy 4th fellow slaves!

kowalli's picture

ahhaha, actually JPmorgan must pay this $8.97 billion in penalties, ahah,but american banksters can't punish themselfs...

8bitdreamer's picture

Surely SOMEBODY will go to jail.....

homiegot's picture

Hasn't Jamie Dimon suffered enough?

SuperRay's picture

Yes, The reporter who dug up this story will go to jail for slander, or maybe he'll just burn to death in a single car explosion..

or be nailgunned

or fall off a building

or get shot in a motorcycle drive-by

or get droned by Obozo

Joebloinvestor's picture

I am waiting for Hollande/France to fine JP $10 billion.


pauhana's picture

Nothing JPM does is "unwitting." 

VonSalza's picture
I'm speechless! I am without speech!
Seasmoke's picture

Too many LIES, can cause throat Cancer 

orangegeek's picture

the media said it was cigars, when in fact it was "the other kind" of cigars

Mi Naem's picture

Other kind?? 

Ohhh, must be smokeless. 

orangegeek's picture

FUCK YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


so yellen, have to run the printers through maintenance for monday's open????


so is this bullish too yellen??

ebworthen's picture

Pretty sure those J.P. Morgan assholes helped Corzine vaporize $1.2 Billion of little old Ladies savings, too.

Seize Mars's picture


You bet your ass Dimon knew exactly what was going on, and helped Corzine complete the swindle.

WTFUD's picture

I'm nobody's child, I'm no(oh)body's child. . . Me Too

Kaiser Sousa's picture

truly a piece of shit...
Jamie Dimon is...

nathan1234's picture

New floating around he has cancer.

But this would be cheating the gallows.


WTF_247's picture

Unwittingly = Aiding and Abetting.  SEC charges others with it all the time under a "known or should have known" accusation.

Good thing JPM is considered TBTF and is exempt from any regular scrutiny and can pretty much do whatever they want.

WTF_247's picture

Unwittingly = Aiding and Abetting.  SEC charges others with it all the time under a "known or should have known" accusation.

Good thing JPM is considered TBTF and is exempt from any regular scrutiny and can pretty much do whatever they want.

syntaxterror's picture

JPM has some of the worst bankster luck ever. When it comes to scamming, scheming, defrauding and manipulating, these clowns seem to get busted every time. But they own the government, hence the unlimited get-out-of-jail-free cards.

ajax's picture



@syntaxterror  A little bit of cufflink goes a long way...

ajax's picture



JPM Chase has been involved in Madoff, Corzine and now this BNP Paribas "scandal".

Ok Paribas: Cuba and Iran I can understand -old school ties (Iran) and all that beachfront property just begging for French hotels (Cuba) - but The Sudan??!! Vraiment??!!

Aussiekiwi's picture

Its OK, its just time to give France a bit of a beating for daring to think they are an independent sovereign country, they would have got the message by now.

nathan1234's picture

So who is the judge was passed these orders on BNP and gave JPM a friendly warning and pat on the back.

The world needs to know

Not Goldman Sachs's picture

Fine and jail THE people. The bank did nothing wrong...banksters did.