Credit Agricole Hit With $790 Mil Fine For Iran Sanctions Violations

Credit Agricole Hit With $790 Mil Fine For Iran Sanctions Violations
Chart via S&P CapIQ

Global megabank Credit Agricole is facing yet another large fine for a series of transactions involving sanctioned countries in violation of New York banking regulations from 2003 to 2008.

The superintendent of the Department of Financial Services for the State of New York announced on Tuesday that Credit Agricole had agreed to pay $787.3 million for the illegal transactions on behalf of countries under U.S. sanctions.

Statement from head of New York DFS

The acting superintendent of the DFS noted in the Tuesday press release, “Credit Agricole engaged in a series of schemes to evade U.S. sanctions and deceive its regulators. Our agency will continue to aggressively investigate and uncover misconduct at banks meant to circumvent U.S. sanctions laws – both past and present.”

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More on Credit Agricole sanctions violations

The $787.3 million fine will be paid out to various agencies. The total includes $385 million to the New York State Department of Financial Services, $90.3 million to the Federal Reserve, $156 million to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and another $156 million is to be paid to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.

In addition, the serial violator megabank is required to appoint an independent monitor. The statement from the NY DFS notes that the transactions in question processed over  $32 billion in U.S. dollar payments at its New York office from branches all across the globe. In effect, the bank was providing ongoing dollar clearing services on behalf of sanctioned nations Sudan, Iran, Myanmar, and Cuba.

The payment by Credit Agricole is being made under a so-called deferred prosecution agreement with the bank. With deferred prosecution agreements, the accused party is kept under close supervision for a period of time, often three years. If the firm violates the terms of the deal, then criminal charges can be filed.

Analysts point out that Credit Agricole is the most recent foreign bank to settle charges of violating U.S. sanctions. More than a dozen global banks, mostly European, have been forced to pay U.S. penalties adding up to $14 billion since 2009.

Credit Agricole has not commented on the new agreement with regulators so far.

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