French Bank Fined for Violating American Sanctions on Iran

French bank Credit Agricole will pay a $787 million fine and install an independent monitor to resolve charges it violated American sanctions on Iran and other countries, regulators in the United States announced Tuesday, according to AFP.

Regulators charged Credit Agricole with intentionally mislabeling thousands of transactions during 2003-2008 to disguise from regulators payments and transfers from parties in Iran, Sudan, Myanmar and Cuba that were sanctioned under United States law.

The bank entered into a deferred prosecution with the Justice Department and signed off on a criminal information statement that charged it with knowingly and willingly conspiring to defraud the U.S., the Justice Department said.

"Sanctions laws are critical to both our national security and foreign policy interests," said Attorney Channing Phillips, according to AFP.

"Although Credit Agricole moved quickly to end these unlawful transactions and fully cooperated with investigators, today's resolution demonstrates that there will be significant consequences for any financial institution that allows its foreign subsidiaries that do not intend to respect U.S. law to, nevertheless, access the U.S. financial system," Phillips added.

From 2003 to 2008, Credit Agricole disguised more than $32 billion in US dollar payments with sanctioned parties, the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) was quoted as having said.

Under the settlement, Credit Agricole will pay $385 million to the New York DFS, $90.3 million to the Federal Reserve, $156 million to the Manhattan District Attorney and $156 million to the Justice Department.

President Barack Obama last year promised to hit firms violating sanctions against Iran like “a ton of bricks”.

Those comments were made some five months before Iran and six world powers reached a nuclear deal which stipulates that sanctions on the Islamic Republic will be lifted.

In fact, Obama this week signed an order directing his administration to begin issuing waivers to Iran nuclear sanctions.


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