It has recently been reported that the bank known as BNP Paribas is facing accusations of being involved in a major money laundering scheme. The accused money-laundering scheme has been occurring for over 7 years and involves the transfer of billions of funds out of Sudan.
US officials have found that this well-known French bank has been responsible for altering important documents, hiding files, and aiding in the smuggling of over 100 billion dollars from the unstable state of Sudan. The allegations are incredibly severe, and the employees involved have received extensive backlash from both the international and domestic communities. This is one of the biggest scandals and examples of corruption that has been unearthed in quite some time, and the public sector of multiple countries is taking action in order to ensure that there is proper discipline.
It was declared that Sudan was run by a terrorist regime long before the 9/11 terrorist attacks ever occurred. Once Osama Bin Laden was exiled from Saudi Arabia, he moved the bulk of al-Qaeda to Sudan. This has served to further the fear that the laundered funds were used in order to aid terrorist affiliated organizations. Additionally, authorities are also looking into potential transactions that BNP Paribas completed with countries such as Iran and Cuba.
However, at this moment in time, authorities have proven unable to find a direct tie between the illegally smuggled funds and terrorist organizations. However, it is known that BNP Paribas actively worked to keep their activities away from the radar of anti-terrorist institutions. Because of this fact, it is currently unknown whether the scheme had any direct terrorist connections or not, but investigations will continue until authorities are certain.
American authorities have also temporarily suspended all of BNP Paribas’ transactions involving US dollars. There has been a major outcry amongst French citizens regarding this decision, as BNP Paribas is the country’s largest bank. Despite the inconveniences that this sanctions regime may cause, the US is not backing down or changing its decision. Negotiations with BNP are currently occurring in order to determine how long the suspension will be, and how they should go about lifting it once the proper amount of time has passed.
In addition to the sanctions that BNP is facing from the United States, this financial institution will also be forced to deal with a whopping fine of 10 billion dollars. This fine is sure to act as a setback to the bank, and many would be surprised if the institution weren’t forced to raise prices on transactions in order to account for it.
Currently, the main focus of authorities is to track down each of the employees that were directly involved. While some of them do still work in the bank’s main branch in France, there are quite a few others who are no longer employees and now work for different companies. Some of the guilty parties even work at the BNP branch that is located in America.
Image from: japantimes.co.jp