France has spent most the post-crisis period pushing to hold banks accountable. But the Americans holding a French bank accountable? That’s where they draw the line.

The political class accused Washington of wielding its set of unilateral sanctions as an extraterritorial hammer against French business interests.

“This unfortunately isn’t the first such case in the history of Franco-U.S. relationships, and is the trademark of Washington’s judicial and trading hegemony,” said French lawmaker Jacques Myard, of the conservative opposition UMP party….

“It would be inadmissible if the French government failed to react,” former trade minister Pierre Lellouche said in a statement, adding he found U.S. threats against BNP Paribas “particularly shocking and exorbitant….”

French people, however, said they would regard a massive penalty levied on BNP Paribas as an attack against France.

“I think the amount is staggering and I suspect the U.S. government is using the case to limit the expansion of European banks in the U.S.,” said Oumar Sambe, a Parisian accountant.

Which is totally not the kind of game that the French would ever play, right?

French Politicians Rally Around BNP Paribas [WSJ]

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Comments (5)

  1. Posted by Guest | June 2, 2014 at 5:45 PM

    Halfway right there. The US is trying to limit the expansion of European banks… but in the axis of evil, not the US.

  2. Posted by BNP IB Client | June 3, 2014 at 7:17 AM

    I think the clowns that BNP hires in the NY office will do a suitable job in limiting the US expansion on their own.

  3. Posted by jcer | June 3, 2014 at 11:18 AM

    Ridiculous, the french would be speaking German if not for the US and UK. The regulators in both countries have fined their domestic counterparts similar huge sums for various indiscretions. Did the Swiss complain when UBS was fined billions for making a mockery of US Tax laws? Does France not exert the same pressure on the Swiss about tax evasion? France is projecting it's thinly veiled protectionism onto US regulators who pretty much allow corps from around the world to operate in the US the same as any domestic company. The fine is not unreasonable if they conducted billions of dollars worth of business with sanctioned states, if sanctions are to work they must be obeyed. Having access to the important capital markets in the US in not a right, you need to follow the law of the land so to speak if you are going to conduct business there. This is a classic case of the pot calling the Kettle black, if JPM or UBS violated French laws they'd be punished more sternly then Credit Agricole.

  4. Posted by DingALing | June 3, 2014 at 1:00 PM

    Stop using the "You'd be speaking German" thing. It was a while ago. Let it go. You don't see the French saying "You guys would have faggy british accents if it wasn't for us in 1778."

    You break laws? You pay penalites. Or in the case of Mark Rich, you take your business to Switzerland and never come back.

  5. Posted by Hmmm ? | June 4, 2014 at 8:26 AM

    The point is that the transactions said to be illegal under US law were not operated on US soil and violated no French, Swiss or European law.
    Would you thinks it's legal for a Saudi court to have you stoned for a blasphemy just because you said it in arabic ?
    If the US deems that the US law applies only because paiements were labelled in dollars, people will cease to use this currency for international paiements.