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U.S. probes two French banks for possible sanctions, AML violations

French banks Societe Generale and Credit Agricole are being investigated by U.S. authorities for alleged money laundering and economic sanction breaches involving Iran, Cuba and Sudan.

The U.S. Treasury and Justice Departments, the Manhattan district attorney’s office and the New York Department of Financial Services are conducting the investigations, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

In its latest annual report, Soc Gen disclosed it was in discussions with the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control over potential U.S. economic sanctions violations.

The bank also said it was conducting its own internal investigation about whether it broke embargoes imposed by the United States in its business dealings. As of December 31, the company had set aside €700 million ($970 mllion) for potential litigation.

Credit Agricole also disclosed in its 2013 annual report that it is reviewing whether it violated any U.S. sanctions. 

Last month, France’s largest bansk, BNP Paribas, said it was setting aside $1.1 billion to cover potential penalties related to transactions in countries under U.S. sanctions.

Standard Chartered, Barclays, the Royal Bank of Scotland and Credit Suisse have all paid fines to settle U.S. charges of breaching sanctions against Cuba, Iran, Libya and Sudan.

The U.S. authorities investigating Credit Agricole and Societe Generale would not comment on the possible sanctions or anti-money laundering violations, the WSJ said.


Julie DiMauro is the executive editor of the FCPA Blog and can be reached here.

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