Systemic Scope of BNP Case Shouldn’t Be Exaggerated, Oudea Says

The systemic impact of potential U.S. penalties against BNP Paribas SA shouldn’t be overstated, Societe Generale Chief Executive Officer Frederic Oudea said.

“Personally, I think that the systemic threat shouldn’t be exaggerated,” Oudea told journalists in Paris today. He added that he doesn’t have specific knowledge of BNP’s probe and declined to comment further on the case.

U.S. authorities are seeking as much as $10 billion to settle allegations that Paris-based BNP Paribas, France’s biggest bank, transferred funds for clients in violation of sanctions against countries including Sudan and Iran, a person with knowledge of the probe has said. Prosecutors are also pressuring the bank to plead guilty and its dollar-clearing business may also be temporarily suspended.

Societe Generale reiterated in March that it had started discussions with the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control related to dollar transfers the bank made for “entities based in countries that are the subject of economic sanctions ordered by the U.S. authorities,” according to its website. Societe Generale is conducting an internal review and is cooperating with U.S. authorities, it has said.

Oudea referred today to the bank’s previous statements and declined to provide further details on Societe Generale’s case.

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