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French bank pays huge US fine for doing business in Cuba, Iran

French bank pays huge US fine for doing business in Cuba, Iran
Societe Generale has agreed to pay $1.34 billion to US federal and state authorities to settle a pending legal dispute over violations of US trade sanctions against Iran and other countries.

One of France’s largest banks has also pledged to pay $95 million to resolve another dispute over violations of anti-money laundering regulations.

“We acknowledge and regret the shortcomings that were identified in these settlements, and have cooperated with the US authorities to resolve these matters,” the group CEO Frederic Oudea said in a statement.

“These resolutions, following on the heels of the resolution of other investigations earlier this year, allow the bank to close a chapter on our most important historical disputes.”

The bank, informally known as SocGen, reportedly violated the Trading with the Enemy Act by illegally transferring billions of dollars to partners registered or located in countries targeted by US embargos, including Iran, Sudan, Cuba and Libya.

The banking giant said the settlement wouldn’t have an extra impact on its results for the current financial year. SocGen had previously agreed to $1.3 billion (€1.14 billion) in the US and France to settle investigations over transactions with Libya, and over the suspected rigging of Libor, a benchmark rate tied to finance products and debts. Last year, the bank had paid €963 million ($1.1 billion) over another dispute with the Libyan Investment Authority.

According to the Manhattan US Attorney’s office, the latest fine imposed on SocGen is the second biggest financial penalty issued on a bank for breaching US sanctions. In 2015, French international banking group BNP Paribas agreed to pay $8.9 billion to settle a probe on sanctions violations.

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