PARIS, July 3 Euro zone finance ministers will
discuss on Monday ways to bolster the use of the euro in
international trade in the aftermath of BNP's record U.S. fine,
France's finance minister said, adding that other banks could
face the same fate as BNP.
France's largest bank has agreed to pay almost $9 billion to
resolve U.S. accusations that it 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.
According to U.S. law, banks can be prosecuted for
processing U.S. dollar transactions for countries subject to
U.S. sanctions, even if the operations involve non-U.S.
"BNP is the first but it is not the last one to risk facing
such a situation," French Finance Minister Sapin said. He did
not name specific firms but said "this could concern banks in
other European countries."
"There will be initial discussions as early as next Monday
at the Eurogroup to see how we could .. try to promote the usage
of the euro," he said on Thursday, referring to the monthly
meeting of euro zone finance ministers.
He did not give any details on what would be discussed or
what could be done to promote the euro.
"It would be a way to protect businesses when, outside of
U.S. territory, they carry out transactions that are perfectly
legal in the country they belong to," he said.
French banks Credit Agricole and SocGen
have disclosed that they are reviewing whether they violated
U.S. sanctions. Sources familiar with the matter have said
Agricole, SocGen, and Germany's Deutsche Bank AG are
among banks being investigated.
The French government has given a guarded welcome to
Monday's deal between BNP and the U.S. authorities but it had
previously warned of consequences on talks on a major EU-U.S.
trade deal if the sanctions were to be "disproportionate."
French central bank governor Christian Noyer said last month
that the threat that BNP could be suspended from clearing
clients' dollar transactions could be disruptive to the
international financial system.
(Reporting by Ingrid Melander; Additional reporting by Maya
Nikolaeva; Editing by Andrew Callus)