The Belgium lawsuit threat to BNP Paribas executives after record US fine

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Last month BNP Paribas, France’s largest bank, was fined 8.8 billion dollars after reaching a settlement with the US justice system in which it pleaded guilty to violating US economic sanctions against several countries, including Iran and Syria and Sudan. The guilty plea is crucial for the bank’s shareholders for it could allow them to begin legal proceedings against those responsible for incurring the fine, a record in such prosecutions in the US. As Mediapart economic affairs writer Philippe Riès details in this analysis of the potential case against BNP Paribas senior management, all eyes are now on the bank’s principal shareholder – the Belgian state.   

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While the Belgian political class is underway with its regular game of patience that is the formation of a new government, a move is underway to demand that the Belgian state, the largest shareholder of BNP Paribas (BNPP), ensures that the bank’s management make itself a civil party in a case against all those, at every level and including corporate officers past and present, whose actions have landed the bank’s shareholders with a fine to pay of 6.4 billion euros (8.8 billion dollars).