We reported in July last year (see previous blog here) that BNP Paribas had pleaded guilty to conspiring between 2004 and 2014 to violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the Trading with the Enemy Act. It has now been sentenced for these offences, ie conspiring to breach US sanctions by processing billions of dollars’ of transactions through the US financial system on behalf of sanctioned Sudanese, Iranian, and Cuban entities.
This is the first time a global bank has pleaded guilty to violations of US sanctions. It has been sentenced to a 5-year term of probation, ordered to forfeit almost $8.9bn and pay a fine of $140m. This is largest financial penalty imposed in the US in a criminal case. Forfeiture and fines of $3.7bn against BNP Paribas in connection with a guilty plea in New York State Supreme Court for falsifying and conspiring to falsify business records and a penalty imposed by OFAC will count towards satisfaction of the criminal penalty. In its agreement with the New York State Supreme Court, BNP Paribas also agreed to terminate or separate from itself 13 employees, including the Group Chief Operating Officer and other senior executives, suspend US dollar clearing operations through any branches and affiliates closely associated with the misconduct, and extend for 2 more years monitoring put in place in 2013. The US Department of Justice press release is here.