PARIS, June 18 Latest negotiations between U.S.
authorities and BNP Paribas on the level of fine it could pay
for breaching U.S. sanctions have failed to produce an
agreement, sources familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.
One of the sources said a proposal by BNP which would have
seen it pay less than $10 billion had been turned down.
French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said at the weekend
that recent talks between France's biggest lender and U.S.
authorities had progressed towards a "more equitable" level from
previously mooted penalties of anything up to $16 billion.
But bank management who attended a board meeting on Monday
were less optimistic about the settlement than they had been the
previous week, one of the sources said.
"(Chief Executive Officer) Jean-Laurent Bonnafe said the
latest talks had not produced desired results," the source said,
adding: "As for the amount of fine, the proposal of below $10
billion by the bank was refused."
The source did not give the exact amount of the fine which
BNP had offered to pay, but a second source said the bank and
U.S. authorities still remained "many billions" apart.
A BNP Paribas spokeswoman declined to comment, as did a
spokeswoman for New York's Department of Financial Services and
a spokesman at the US Department of Justice.
French authorities have warned that an excessive penalty on
BNP could have repercussions for the wider economy. President
Francois Hollande raised the matter with his U.S. counterpart
Barack Obama, who has said it is a matter for U.S. justice.
Sources have told Reuters the probe has so far mostly
focused on the bank's dollar-financing of oil trade out of Sudan
between 2002 and 2009. Washington imposed sanctions against the
Khartoum givernment in 1997 over human rights violations and
extended them in 2007.
New York's banking regulator has said the agency would not
revoke BNP's license to operate in New York if the bank agreed
to other penalties, including the termination of more than a
dozen employees and a ban on dollar-clearing. It is unclear how
broad or long the ban would be.
(Reporting by Matthias Blamont in Paris and Karen Freifeld in
New York; writing by Maya Nikolaeva and editing by Mark John)