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Guilty plea by BNP Paribas

BNP Paribas pleaded guilty to a criminal charge over its dealings with sanctioned countries in federal court on Wednesday, putting the finishing touches on the French bank’s record $8.97 billion settlement reached last week with U.S. authorities. As expected, attorneys for BNP entered a guilty plea on behalf of the bank to a single federal charge of conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and Trading with the Enemy Act. Judge Lorna Schofield accepted the plea in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. The plea was formally entered by Georges Dirani, general counsel for BNP. The move came after the bank separately pleaded guilty to criminal charges of conspiracy and filing false business records in New York state court. The U.S. Justice Department, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, New York Department of Financial Services and other agencies that day announced the deal in which BNP agreed to pay $8.97 billion – a record for a global sanctions case. BNP cleared more than $190 billion of transactions involving Iran, Cuba and Sudan – which are subject to U.S. sanctions – between 2002 and 2012, according to documents released by the New York Department of Financial Services. The size of BNP’s fine reflects the level of misconduct in which the bank engaged, authorities said. Federal and state authorities alleged that BNP took steps to prevent transactions that violated sanctions from being detected by other banks and regulators.

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