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BNP Conducting Review of ‘Significant’ U.S. Dollar Transactions

BNP Paribas SA, France’s largest bank, is conducting a review of “a significant volume” of U.S. dollar transactions with countries that may face American economic sanctions.

The review covers “certain U.S. dollar payments involving countries, persons and entities that could be subject to economic sanctions under U.S. law,” the Paris-based bank said in its annual report. The transactions may be “impermissible” under regulations such as those of the Office of Foreign Assets Control, BNP Paribas said.

Global regulators last month called on banks to reinforce risk management and oversight in response to recent scandals that have eroded confidence in the financial system. A Feb. 12 study on lenders by the Financial Stability Board found that “significant gaps” persist in risk management.

Societe Generale SA, France’s second-largest bank, said earlier this month that it has started discussions with OFAC and begun an internal audit of dollar transfers for clients in countries targeted by U.S. sanctions. London-based HSBC Holdings Plc and Standard Chartered Plc paid fines in the U.S. over failures to halt the laundering of money in sanctioned countries such as Iran.

BNP Paribas currently cannot assess “the specific amount or even the general magnitude” of the review’s possible impact on its results and financial situation, it said, without giving further details of the transactions.

“When the bank completes this review, it will present its findings and arguments to the U.S. authorities,” BNP Paribas said. The timing to complete the review and “subsequent discussions with the U.S. authorities is also uncertain,” BNP Paribas said.

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