PARIS, July 1 French bank BNP Paribas
can withstand the impact of the record $9 billion fine imposed
on it by U.S. authorities without having to raise fresh capital,
Chief Executive Jean-Laurent Bonnafe told Les Echos newspaper in
"I'm not trying to minimise the financial impact, which is
enormous," the CEO was quoted by the newspaper as saying in the
interview published on its website on Tuesday.
"The bank could have reinvested this money in the company or
distributed it to shareholders. I say it again, we are
financially solid ... a group like BNP Paribas can absorb a
shock like that without calling on the market."
Asked whether his predecessor, Baudouin Prot, now chairman
of the bank, had been weakened by the episode, Bonnafe said he
would remain in the role "even if the shock is as hard for him
as for the rest of the group".
BNP Paribas pleaded guilty to two criminal charges and
agreed to pay almost $9 billion to resolve accusations that it
had violated U.S. sanctions against Sudan, Cuba and Iran, in a
severe punishment aimed at sending a clear message to other
financial institutions around the world.
(Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Alexandria Sage)