NEW YORK (Reuters) - BNP Paribas SA (BNPP.PA) was sentenced to five years probation by a U.S. judge on Friday in connection with a record $8.9 billion (5.88 billion pounds) settlement resolving claims that it violated sanctions against Sudan, Cuba and Iran.
U.S. District Judge Lorna Schofield in Manhattan formally ordered the French bank to forfeit $8.83 billion and pay a $140 million fine as part of a sentence.
The case marked the first time a global bank pleaded guilty to violations of U.S. economic sanctions, the Justice Department said.
The sentencing followed BNP Paribas’ guilty plea in July to conspiring from 2004 to 2012 to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the Trading with the Enemy Act.
The sentence imposed by Schofield followed the terms of a heavily negotiated plea deal the U.S. Justice Department announced that month. The department said that during the five-year probation period, BNP would be required to enhance its compliance policies and procedures.
Authorities said that BNP essentially functioned as the “central bank for the government of Sudan,” concealing its tracks and failing to cooperate when first contacted by law enforcement.
Prosecutors said BNP also evaded sanctions against entities in Iran and Cuba, in part by stripping information from wire transfers so they could pass through the U.S. system without raising red flags.
BNP’s sentencing had been delayed for months while it awaited word on whether the U.S. Labor Department would allow it to continue to manage retirement plans despite the plea. The department granted BNP that exemption this month.
A New York state court judge on April 15 sentenced BNP Paribas in a related case in which it agreed to forfeit $2.24 billion.
That sum, along with a $508 million payment to the Federal Reserve and a $2.24 billion payment to the New York Department of Financial Services, are credited toward the $8.9 billion ordered by Schofield on Friday.
Friday’s sentencing came a day after BNP Paribas reported first-quarter net income of 1.65 billion euros ($1.83 billion), up 17.5 percent. Revenue grew 11.6 percent to 11.1 billion euros.
The case is U.S. v. BNP Paribas SA, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 14-cr-00460.
Editing by Ted Botha