France says strong euro needed to avoid US penalties

Paris, Sep 10 (IANS) A strong euro and greater role for the European currency in international trade is needed to help French banks avoid high US penalties on alleged dealings with countries subject to sanctions, a government official said on Thursday.

“The only way to fight effectively against a risk of this sort is to have a strong compensation,” Xinhua quoted French foreign ministry spokesperson Romain Nadal as saying.

At a press briefing, Nadal said the sanctions need to be proportionate and reciprocal “on the basis of the transatlantic partnership which is being discussed with the US”.

Credit Agricole, France’s third-largest listed bank, is negotiating an agreement with US authorities to pay a penalty of up to $1 billion for deals with blacklisted countries such as Iran.

In its half-year financial report, Credit Agricole set aside additional 350 million euros ($392.46 million) for a settlement. In total, it devoted 16 billion euros to litigation,

Punished for alleged dealings with countries subject to sanctions such as Iran, Cuba and Sudan, BNP Paribas, France’s biggest bank, in 2014 paid $8.9 billion in sanction and was banned from conducting certain US dollar transactions for a year.

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