US to Charge Millions to French Bank for Violating Sanctions

Washington, Nov 19 (Prensa Latina) The French bank Société Générale S.A. will pay 340 million dollars to several US entities for the alleged violation of sanctions imposed by the US Government on Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Libya, it was reported on Monday.

The amount represents the second-largest penalty ever imposed on a financial institution for violating US sanctions, according to prosecutors, quoted by The Wall Street Journal.

Société Générale agreed to make that payment, corresponding to fines and punishments, in response to federal and state accusations from the United States that it processed billions of dollars in transactions related to those countries over the course of a decade.

The bank signed a deferred prosecution agreement with the Department of Justice, to which it will disburse 717.2 million dollars; while it will pay 325 million to the Department of Financial Services (DFS) of the state of New York.

In addition, 162.8 million will go to the district attorney’s office in Manhattan; 81.3 million to the Federal Reserve; and 53.9 million to the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the Treasury Department.

According to the DFS, the third largest bank in France incurred violations from 2003 to 2013, a period during which it would have executed more than 2,600 outgoing payments, valued at around 8,300 million dollars.

The Federal Reserve said in a statement that it fined Société Générale ‘for the firm’s unsafe and unsound practices mainly related to violations of US sanctions against Cuba’, a country that continually denounces the extraterritorial nature of the blockade imposed by Washington.

That institution noted that the bank presented insufficient policies and procedures to guarantee that the activities carried out in its offices outside the United States complied with the law of sanctions. In turn, the OFAC pointed out that Société Générale processed 796 transactions involving Cuba from July 11, 2007, to October 26, 2010, in what it described as an apparent violation of the Regulation of control of Cuban assets.

The news about these new fines and punishments by the United States against a foreign institution for allegedly transgressing punishments against Cuba and other countries was published after the overwhelming majority of the international community rejected the blockade of Cuba again at the United Nations General Assembly on November 1.

In its annual report on the damages caused by more than 55 years of US blockade, Cuba noted that from April 2017 to March, that policy had caused losses estimated at about 4.321 billion dollars.

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