US set to slap $10bn fine on BNP Paribas over alleged violation of sanctions

31 May 2014 14:11

France’s biggest bank, BNP Paribas, is facing a hefty fine of $۱۰ billion over charges that it violated US sanctions against Iran and other countries.

The US Justice Department is reportedly pushing the bank to plead guilty to the charges and to pay one of the biggest penalties ever imposed on a financial institution.

The bank said on Friday it was following the case "with the utmost attention" after The Wall Street Journal reported that the Justice Department wanted $۱۰ billion from the bank.

The case has now caused an uproar in France. The National Front, which made a surprise showing in European Parliament elections earlier this month, says the French government is not properly protecting BNP Paribas against the US pressure.

The National Front has also insisted that the French government must stand up to the US pressure on French companies to abandon their interests in other countries like Iran.

The party says major auto maker Peugeot was a victim of this policy, when it was forced out of the Iranian market only to be replaced by competitors.

Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council -- Britain, China, France, Russia, and the United States -- plus Germany signed an interim nuclear agreement in Geneva, Switzerland, last November.

Under the Geneva agreement, the Sextet agreed to provide Iran with some sanctions relief in exchange for Tehran agreeing to limit certain aspects of its nuclear activities during a six-month period.

Iran and the P۵+۱ group have continued their talks in order to reach a final agreement.

The illegal US-engineered sanctions on Iran have been imposed based on the unfounded accusation that Tehran is pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program.

Iran rejects the allegation, arguing that as a committed signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

In addition, the IAEA has conducted numerous inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities but has never found any evidence showing that Iran's civilian nuclear program has been diverted to nuclear weapons production.

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