Report: French bank BNP's lawyers warned of US sanctions risk in 2006; could face huge fine

PARIS – A leading French newspaper is reporting that lawyers for BNP Paribas warned the French bank in 2006 that some of its transactions could be in violation of U.S. sanctions against Iran and other countries.

The report Friday in Le Monde cited 2006 memos from at least two American legal firms.

The bank, France’s largest, could face a multibillion dollar fine over currency transactions for clients in Iran, Sudan and Cuba in violation of U.S. trade sanctions between 2002 and 2009. The French government is lobbying the U.S. to reconsider the fine, which would be among the largest ever brought against a company.

BNP on Thursday announced the early retirement of Chief Operating Officer Georges Chodron de Courcel, whose departure had been sought by U.S. banking regulators.