- Deal with Justice Department, others seen as soon as this week
- Deutsche Bank, Societe Generale, UniCredit probes still open
Credit Agricole SA will pay as much as $800 million to settle a U.S. probe into violations of sanctions against Iran and Sudan as soon as this week, according to two people briefed on the matter.
The deal will feature a deferred-prosecution agreement with the U.S. Justice Department, allowing the French lender to avoid a criminal conviction while admitting it broke U.S. laws a decade ago by handling business involving parties from the blacklisted countries, the people said.
The bank is expected to announce settlements at the same time with the Manhattan district attorney’s office, New York’s Department of Financial Services and the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, said one of the people, adding that the bank’s board has already agreed to the key terms. The people asked to remain anonymous because the agreements haven’t been made public.
Anne-Sophie Gentil, a spokeswoman for Credit Agricole, said the bank wouldn’t comment on rumors.
A deal with the Montrouge, France-based lender would be the first U.S. sanctions-violation settlement with a big bank since the U.S. and several other nations reached a historic nuclear accord with Iran in July. The nations on Sunday formally adopted the pact, in which the U.S. will ease some of its sanctions against Iran after Tehran delivers on pledges to limit its nuclear program.
More sanctions-related bank settlements are pending. European lenders Deutsche Bank AG, Societe Generale SA and UniCredit AG have all disclosed they are cooperating with U.S. authorities on investigations into sanctions violations. Those matters are expected to be settled in 2016 at the latest, according to people briefed on the probes.
Representatives for the three banks declined to comment.
Ten major global banks announced such resolutions since 2009, when the Justice Department and the Manhattan district attorney’s office began to focus on financial institutions suspected of violating laws restricting trade with Iran and other blacklisted nations.
Spokesmen for the Justice Department, the Manhattan district attorney’s office, New York’s Department of Financial Services and OFAC declined to comment.
Credit Agricole said in August that it set aside 350 million euros ($397 million) for legal costs in the second quarter related to the U.S. investigation, adding that it would probably be resolved in coming months. That brought its total litigation provisions to 1.6 billion euros.