Francois Hollande is not having a good week - disastrous elections over the weekend, followed by record high numbers of jobseekers (destroying his promise to deliver jobs), and now his banking system is under attack; as the WSJ reports:
- *US JUSTICE DEPT SEEKS >$10B BNP PENALTY FOR SANCTIONS EVASION: WSJ
A final resolution (and a guilty plea) of the years long investigation of the French bank is likely weeks away, WSJ notes but it does remain ironic that in flexing his enforcement muscles, DoJ's Eric Holder is about to crucify yet another non-US bank.
The U.S. Justice Department is pushing BNP Paribas SA to pay more than $10 billion to resolve a criminal probe into allegations it evaded U.S. sanctions against Iran and other countries for years, which would represent one of the largest penalties ever imposed on a bank, according to people familiar with the negotiations.
A final resolution of the yearslong investigation of the French bank is likely weeks away, and it's possible the ultimate settlement amount could total far less than $10 billion. BNP is looking to pay less than $8 billion, according to the people familiar with the settlement discussions, although a person close to the bank said its negotiators have never mentioned the $8 billion figure in talks with U.S. authorities.
BNP and the U.S. authorities also remain locked in negotiations over whether the bank will temporarily lose the ability to transfer money into and out of the U.S., the people said.
Prosecutors are continuing to try and extract a guilty plea from the bank and, in recent negotiations, have pointed to the muted market reaction in the wake of Credit Suisse AG's admission to conspiring to aid tax evasion as evidence that a guilty plea by BNP would not be disastrous, according to a person familiar with prosecutors' thinking.
So to get some context, DOJ's Eric Holder, frustrated at allegations he refuses to take legal action against banks, is doing his best to destroy one particular bank: a French one, not to be confused with an American bank of course. After all those still pull all the strings at the Department of "Justice." However, over in Europe, where first it was Credit Suisse and now French BNP is about to get crucified, US enforcement has never been stronger.