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Credit Agricole to pay $800 mn in sanctions case

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Baku, October 20, AZERTAC

French bank Credit Agricole has agreed to pay $800 million to settle charges it flouted US sanctions in Iran and other countries, a person familiar with the matter said Monday, according to Yahoo News.

The settlement, part of a long-running US investigation of European banks for illicit dollar transactions with nations under US sanctions, will be announced this week, possibly as soon as Tuesday, the person said.

Credit Agricole is paying the fine as part of a so-called deferred prosecution agreement that does not require the bank to plead guilty so long as it fulfills certain requirements.

The US authorities accuse Credit Agricole of transferring billions of dollars to accounts held by entities under US sanctions such as Iran, Sudan and Cuba between 2003 and 2008.

Some of the bankers responsible for the wrongdoing have already been dismissed, while one employee is still with the French bank and is expected to be dismissed, the person said.

Besides Justice, the agencies involved in the settlement are the Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve and the New York Department of Financial Services.

Credit Agricole said in August that it had set aside $350 million in provisions because it was at an "advanced stage" in discussions over the alleged sanctions violations and it expected to reach a global settlement in autumn 2015.

Rival French bank BNP Paribas was ordered to pay a record $8.9 billion fine earlier this year for similar alleged violations.

Credit Agricole's board has agreed to the key terms of the deal, which allows it to avoid criminal proceedings, according to Bloomberg News, which quoted two people familiar with the case.

Other European banks including Deutsche Bank, Societe Generale and UniCredit have already said they are cooperating with US investigations into alleged sanctions violations, the agency said.

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