BNP pleads guilty for 2nd time in $9 bln U.S. sanctions accord

NEW YORK, July 9 Wed Jul 9, 2014 5:42pm EDT

NEW YORK, July 9 (Reuters) - BNP Paribas, for the second time in nine days, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to conspiring to violate U.S. sanctions, as part of a nearly $9 billion settlement in which the French bank admitted to breaking embargoes against Sudan, Cuba and Iran.

Prosecutors had accused the bank of processing billions of dollars of transactions through the U.S. financial system on behalf of Sudanese and others barred from doing so because of their countries' human rights abuses, support for terrorists and other national security concerns.

U.S. District Judge Lorna Schofield accepted the plea at a hearing in Manhattan federal court. The plea was entered by the bank's general counsel, Georges Dirani.

BNP Paribas admitted to having conspired from 2004 to 2012 to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the Trading with the Enemy Act.

The U.S. Justice Department unveiled the record settlement on July 1, when the bank pleaded guilty in New York state court to charges of falsifying business records and conspiracy brought by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance. (Reporting by Joseph Ax and Nate Raymond in New York; Additional reporting by Aruna Viswanatha in Washington; Editing by Chris Reese)

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