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The logo of BNP Paribas is seen on top of its eastern Paris offices. Shares in the bank fell sharply on reports that the U.S. Justice Department could levy a fine of $10-billion (U.S.) for allegedly evading U.S. sanctions.
The logo of BNP Paribas is seen on top of its eastern Paris offices. Shares in the bank fell sharply on reports that the U.S. Justice Department could levy a fine of $10-billion (U.S.) for allegedly evading U.S. sanctions.
(CHARLES PLATIAU/REUTERS)

Foreign fining spree will come back to haunt America

When President Barack Obama attends the D-Day commemoration event this week in France, Francois Hollande, the French head of state, is expected to take his American guest aside for a little private chat about a certain French bank and the threat by the U.S. Justice Department of a $10-billion (U.S.) fine. BNP Paribas is accused of infringing U.S. sanctions against Iran, Sudan and Cuba, becoming the latest European bank to be caught in a campaign by Justice to bring alleged miscreants to book, but the scale of the penalty threatening BNP (it would amount to the largest corporate fine ever imposed by the U.S.) is provoking political uproar in Paris.