French bank Credit Agricole has reportedly made a deal with US investigators to avoid criminal charges for helping sanctions-blocked countries move money through the US. The arrangement could be announced Tuesday.
Under the settlement, which was revealed to news agencies by unnamed sources on Monday, the bank would pay a $787 million fine for illegally handling billions of dollars in transfers to and from countries under US sanctions, including Iran, Sudan and Cuba, from 2003 to 2008.
The arrangement, known as deferred prosecution, allows the bank to avoid a guilty plea and criminal charges if it pledges not to engage in similar behavior in the future.
Credit Agricole would face close oversight for a period of roughly three years to ensure it was complying with the terms of the deal.
Sanctions-busting European banks
Credit Agricole is the latest foreign bank to settle with US authorities over sanctions violations. Rival bank BNP Paribas paid a record sum of $8.9 billion earlier this year for similarly illicit transactions.
Germany’s Commerzbank and Swiss UBS have also been fined. Deutsche Bank, Italy’s UniCredit SpA and France’s Societe Generale are still under investigation.
The deal was made with the Department of Justice and other US agencies, including the Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve and the New York Department of Financial Services. The arrangement is expected to be announced this week, maybe as early as Tuesday, but so far no involved party has commented publicly.
cjc/uhe (AFP, Reuters)