BNP Paribas was charged in a criminal probe of U.S. sanctions violations, signaling the bank has resolved an investigation spanning seven years and will pay almost $9 billion, the largest fine ever for such a case.
BNP has agreed to plead guilty for processing funds involving Sudan, Iran and Cuba, according to a person familiar with the matter. The bank, suspected of hiding about $30 billion in transactions, will also be barred from clearing U.S. dollars for as long as a year, according to another person, who asked not to be named because the agreement wasn't yet public.
Fallout from the probe, and negotiations over its settlement with state and federal prosecutors, has reached the highest levels of the French and American governments. Overtures this year by numerous French officials, including President Francois Hollande, weren't enough to persuade U.S. officials to take a more lenient approach with the country's biggest bank.