BNP Paribas [fortune-stock symbol=”BNPQY”] is to pay $8.9 billion to settle charges that it helped countries such as Iran and Sudan to avoid U.S. sanctions, according to media reports.
The settlement, the latest in a series of multi-billion fines handed down for bad behavior by banks, brings a five-year probe to an end with the largest ever fine for sanctions-busting, dwarfing the $1.9 billion paid in 2011 by HSBC Holdings PLC [fortune-stock symbol=”HBC”].
However, it’s still well short of the maximum fine that could have been imposed, given that U.S. law allowed the authorities to levy a multiple of the $30 billion in illicit transactions that were at the heart of the case.
The Financial Times reported that the board of Europe’s second-largest bank by assets Sunday approved the settlement, noting that it had secured one important concession from the U.S. authorities: although the bank’s license to clear transactions in…
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