The transatlantic tussle between France’s biggest bank and US regulators over alleged sanctions breaches escalated yesterday after BNP Paribas’s credit rating came under threat and Fran?ois Hollande said he would raise the issue with Barack Obama.
Amid alarm among French politicians about the prospect of BNP Paribas being fined as much as $10bn – more than its annual profits – Standard & Poor’s said it had put the bank’s A+ rating on “credit watch with negative implications”.
The French and US presidents are set to discuss the issue at a private dinner in Paris this evening. “The justice system is independent in France and in the US, but we can make arguments regarding the disproportionate character,” Mr Hollande said yesterday.
The bank is being investigated for allegedly violating US sanctions and anti-money laundering rules between 2002 and 2009 by disguising transactions in US dollars with countries including Iran, Sudan and Cuba. As well as a large fine, it faces a potential guilty plea and suspension of its ability to clear US dollar transactions.
S&P said: These penalties could result in adverse changes to BNP Paribas’s risk-adjusted capitalisation, and disrupt some of its banking activities.”
Analysts say the fine, which unconfirmed reports put at up to $10bn, could force the bank to cut its dividend, dispose of assets or even launch a rights issue. People close to the bank said it had not been presented with a $10bn settlement figure by US authorities.
If BNP Paribas were to pay a fine of $8bn as part of any settlement then foreign banks would account for 27 per cent of the $96.4bn in fines that US authorities have levied.
在法国第一大银行法国巴黎银行(BNP Paribas)信用评级受到威胁后，该行与美国监管当局围绕涉嫌违反制裁展开的跨大西洋角力昨日进一步升级。弗朗索瓦?奥朗德(Fran?ois Hollande)则表示，他会向巴拉克?奥巴马(Barack Obama)提出这一问题。
因有法国政治人士警告称，法国巴黎银行未来可能面临高达100亿美元的罚款（超过该行年度利润总额），标准普尔(Standard & Poor's)表示，已将法国巴黎银行的A+评级“前景展望调为负面”。