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Crédit Agricole to pay $787 million fine for sanctions violations

French bank Crédit Agricole has agreed to pay a fine of US$787 million for transferring more than $32 billion on behalf of countries including Sudan, Iran, Myanmar and Cuba, in violation of US sanctions. 26 Oct 2015

Between 2003 and 2008 the bank made transactions on behalf of countries and entities that were subject to sanctions, the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) said.

Crédit Agricole used a series of schemes to process the money in US dollar payments through its New York branch from its offices in Paris, London, Singapore, Geneva, Hong Kong and the Middle East, the NYDFS said.

The bank agreed to clients' requests to hide their identities on these transactions, and issued instructions to staff on how to disguise transactions, it said.

Crédit Agricole will install an independent consultant and "take action to terminate" a managing director who was involved in the scheme and currently still works for the bank. Most of the employees involved in the misconduct are no longer at the bank, the statement issued by the US regulator said.

According to the NYDFS, $385m of the fine will be paid to it, with $90.3m to be paid to the Federal Reserve, $156m to the Manhattan district attorney's office and $156m to the US attorney's office for the District of Columbia.

Acting superintendent Anthony Albanese of the NYDFS said: "Crédit Agricole engaged in a series of schemes to evade US sanctions and deceive its regulators. Our agency will continue to aggressively investigate and uncover misconduct at banks meant to circumvent US sanctions laws – both past and present."