Banks Beware: U.S. Will Find and Punish Law Breakers

By Clifford Hwang

Credit Agricole has agreed to pay $787.3 million dollars to settle claims that it had violated sanctions primarily against Sudan and Iran. This settlement is only one among a series of similar investigations and settlements where banks have paid large sums to settle allegations of sanctions violations including Commerzbank’s $1.45 billion settlement and BNP Paribas’s record $8.9 billion fine. Credit Agricole’s settlement is the culmination of the investigations of several U.S. agencies regarding the bank’s scheme to process more than $32 billion in payments on behalf of various institutions in Sudan and Iran from 2003 to 2008. Under the settlement, Credit Agricole will pay the fine as well as enter into a deferred prosecution agreement with the Justice Department.