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Swiss office of BNP Paribas accused of violating US sanctions re several states

July 01, 2014, 13:43 UTC+3

The violations have been established by Swiss watchdog for control over financial markets

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GENEVA, July 1. /ITAR-TASS/. Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) has found out that the office of French bank BNP Paribas in Switzerland “has crudely violated American sanctions” imposed on a number of states, preeminently Sudan. This is shown by the results of the investigation carried out by Swiss financial watchdog.

The watchdog’s data was published after it became known that the largest French bank agreed to pay $8.97 billion to US authorities for striking international deals in Sudan, Iran and Cuba in violation of the sanctions imposed by Washington.

“The probe conducted by FINMA revealed that, particularly in the case of Sudan, the bank had ignored and violated US sanctions up to 2011, particularly during the period from 2002 and 2007,” FINMA’s statement says.

Thus, the investigation revealed that the Swiss subsidiary of the French crediting organization, BNP Suisse, was conducting dollar transactions of Iranian and Sudanese clients subject to US sanctions to avoid transactions getting blocked by the international controlling system, as well as was transferring funds to Sudan through third-party banks and providing credits for funding the trade of Sudanese oil.

In view of the conducted probe, FINMA has banned BNP Suisse from conducting business with companies and persons subject to EU and/or US sanctions for 2 years. In addition, it has also increased the requirements to the bank’s capital with regard to operation risks.

However, FINMA did not find any confirmation that Swiss sanctions were violated.

In addition to an enormous fine, US authorities have imposed on BNP Paribas restrictions for conducting specific dollar transactions. Representatives of American watchdogs said these measures would come into effect in January 2015 and would affect the bank’s subsidiaries in New York, Geneva, Paris, Singapore, Milan and Rome. The restrictions will be in force for one year.

Meanwhile, there are no reports about the bank’s possible shutdown in the USA.

Earlier, the bank’s representatives apologized and admitted that the financial institution was involved in one case of report forgery, as well as in criminal conspiracy.

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