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SocGen pays $1.3 billion to resolve sanction offenses

Société Générale SA resolved U.S. trade sanction violations Monday by entering into two deferred prosecution agreements and paying $1.34 billion in penalties to federal and state authorities.

Paris-based SocGen -- the third biggest French bank -- admitted that it violated sanctions on Cuba, Iran, and Sudan.

The violations started in 2003 and continued until 2013.

SocGen paid a total of $1.34 billion in penalties to settle the offenses -- $717 million to the DOJ, $325 million to New York’s Department of Financial Services (DFS), $163 million to the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, $81 million to the U.S. Federal Reserve, and $54 million to the U.S. Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

The bank also paid another $95 million to the DFS for anti-money-laundering offenses.

SocGen said in a statement it signed three-year deferred prosecution agreements with the U.S Attorney's Office of the Southern District of New York and the New York County District Attorney's Office.

The Federal Reserve cited SocGen's "unsafe and unsound practices" primarily related to violations of U.S. sanctions against Cuba.

The Fed order required SocGen "to implement an enhanced program to ensure global compliance with U.S. sanctions."

The order also barred the bank from "re-employing the individuals involved in the past actions or retaining them as consultants or contractors."

SocGen agreed to help the Fed and other agencies in ongoing investigations of individuals involved in the misconduct.

OFAC said SocGen voluntarily self-disclosed the sanction violations.

In June this year, the DOJ imposed a $565 million criminal penalty on Société Générale for FCPA offenses in Libya. Half of the penalty was payable to the French enforcement agency, Parquet National Financier.

Also in June, SocGen resolved U.S. charges that it rigged LIBOR rates. The bank paid criminal penalties to the DOJ of $275 million and disgorged $200 million to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Frédéric Oudéa, SocGen's CEO, said, "We acknowledge and regret the shortcomings that were identified in [Monday's] settlements, and have cooperated with the U.S. authorities to resolve these matters." 

"Looking to the future," Oudéa said, "we aim to be a trusted partner."


Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog.