UPDATE 1-SocGen says in talks over potential U.S. sanctions breach

Thu Mar 7, 2013 5:20am EST

* Says launches internal audit, cooperating

* Follows internal enquiries at BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole

PARIS, March 7 (Reuters) - French bank Societe Generale said on Thursday that it was in talks with U.S. authorities about U.S. dollar transfers involving countries targeted by U.S. sanctions.

SocGen, which made the disclosure in its annual report, said it had launched an internal audit and was cooperating with U.S. authorities.

A Societe Generale spokeswoman declined to comment but noted that such talks were underway with many financial institutions.

The bank's disclosure follows similar ones by French rivals BNP Paribas and Credit Agricole last year that they were conducting their own internal inquiries to check whether they were potentially in breach of American sanctions.

SocGen, which said it was in talks with the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is just the latest in a series of European banks who have disclosed talks with regulators regarding potential sanctions briefings.

Many such admissions have involved violations of U.S. sanctions on Iran aimed at punishing its nuclear programme.

In one of the highest profile cases, Standard Chartered Plc agreed to pay $327 million to resolve allegations that it violated U.S. sanctions against Iran, Sudan and two other countries.

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