Treasury Settlement Part of Interagency Investigation into
Apparent Violations of Sanctions Programs
WASHINGTON – As
part of a combined $8.9 billion settlement with federal and state government agencies,
the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)
today announced a $963 million agreement with BNP Paribas SA (BNPP) to settle
its potential liability for apparent violations of U.S. sanctions regulations. Today’s settlement resolves OFAC’s
investigation into BNPP’s systemic practice of concealing, removing, omitting,
or obscuring references to information about U.S.-sanctioned parties in 3,897
financial and trade transactions routed to or through banks in the United
States between 2005 and 2012 in apparent violation of the Sudanese Sanctions
Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 538; the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions
Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 560; the Cuban Assets Control Regulations, 31 C.F.R.
part 515; and the Burmese Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 537.
OFAC worked closely with its counterparts at the Board of
Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Board of Governors), the U.S.
Department of Justice (DOJ), the New York County District Attorney’s Office
(DANY), and the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS). Together, the agencies cooperated with France’s
Autorité de Contrôle Prudentiel et
de Résolution, and
collaborated closely throughout the investigation to ensure a global settlement. Today’s OFAC settlement is being entered into
simultaneously with the bank’s resolution of the matter with the Board of Governors,
DOJ, DANY, and the NYDFS.
“Today’s settlement is OFAC’s largest-ever and reaffirms
OFAC’s determination to aggressively enforce U.S. sanctions rules and
regulations,” said OFAC Director Adam J. Szubin. “The settlement is the result of an
interagency effort to investigate institutions that abuse the U.S. financial
system and undermine U.S. sanctions programs.
OFAC will continue to coordinate these efforts with other federal and
state agencies in order to protect the U.S. financial infrastructure from the
risks inherent in this type of illicit activity.”
The specific payment practices the bank utilized in order to
process sanctions-related payments to or through the United States included
omitting references to sanctioned parties; replacing the names of sanctioned
parties with BNPP’s name or a code word; and structuring payments in a manner
that did not identify the involvement of sanctioned parties in payments sent to
U.S. financial institutions. While these
payment practices occurred throughout multiple branches and subsidiaries of the
bank, BNPP’s subsidiary in Geneva and branch in Paris facilitated or conducted
the overwhelming majority of the apparent violations.
Under the settlement agreement, BNPP is required to put in
place and maintain policies and procedures to minimize the risk of the
recurrence of such conduct in the future. BNPP is also required to provide OFAC with
copies of submissions to the Board of Governors relating to the OFAC compliance
review that it will be conducting as part of its settlement with the Board of
BNPP’s $963 million settlement with OFAC will be deemed
satisfied by the bank’s payment of that amount to DOJ for the same pattern of