In December 2005, ABN Amro reached an $80m settlement with US regulators over breaking sanctions against Iran, Cuba and Sudan. And for one compliance official at BNP Paribas – where concerns had been raised about the same issues – the cat was now out of the bag.
'The dirty little secret isn’t so secret anymore, oui?', the official at the bank’s North American operations wrote in an email. Surely, the lender would now have to clean up its links with financial institutions in sanctioned states.
The Daily Telegraph reports that the response from executives at the bank, however, was a resounding “non”.
Despite the red flags raised by the ABN Amro settlement, BNP Paribas wilfully ignored internal legal warnings, and continued to break sanctions for another seven years.
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