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?