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French banking giant to pay US €700m in fines

French bank Credit Agricole has agreed to pay €700 million ($800 million) to the US to settle charges it conducted illegal business in Iran and other sanctioned countries, reports have claimed.

French banking giant to pay US €700m in fines
Photo: AFP

The settlement will be announced this week, possibly as soon as Tuesday, the person said. The deal with the US Department of Justice and other agencies is a deferred prosecution agreement and does not require Credit Agricole to plead guilty.

US authorities accuse the bank of illegally handling billions of dollars in transfers for entities from countries under US sanctions like Sudan, Cuba and Iran 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.

Rival French bank BNP Paribas was ordered to pay a record $8.9 billion fine earlier this year for similar violations in the long-running US investigation of European banks for illicit dollar transactions with countries under US sanctions.

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FRANCE US

‘We have a lot to do’: Macron congratulates Joe Biden on winning US presidential election

French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday congratulated US president-elect Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris on their election victory.

'We have a lot to do': Macron congratulates Joe Biden on winning US presidential election
Joe Biden. AFP

“The Americans have chosen their president,” said Macron

“We have a lot to do to overcome today's challenges. Let's work together!” Macron tweeted, in French and English, after major US media networks announced Biden's victory over incumbent Donald Trump.

Macron has never met Biden, who will in January become the 46th president of the United States.

France under Macron is keen for Europe to move away from its reliance on US military might, for defence in particular.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo reacted to Biden's win by saying “Welcome back America”.

 

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Thursday reinforced recent statements from Paris that the nature of US-EU relations had permanently changed under Trump.

Europe needs to build a “new trans-atlantic relationship, which is a new partnership” irrespective of who wins, he said then.

“We cannot go back to the status quo ante, to a kind of good old days in the trans-atlantic relationship,” as Europe affirms its sovereignty in security, defence and strategic autonomy, Le Drian added.

Apart from the far right, the French political class generally hailed Biden's victory at the polls, which saw him win more votes than any other US president in history.

Former French president Francois Hollande, who was in office when Trump came to power in 2016, welcomed the “good news for American democracy”.

Biden has promised to return the United States to the Paris Climate Agreement after Trump pulled out of it.

Hollande hailed the “happy news for the planet with the return of United States in the climate agreement”.

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