BNP Paribas all set to plead guilty to criminal charges in U.S.

BNP Paribas all set to plead guilty to criminal charges in U.S.French bank BNP Paribas has agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges that it was slapped with for violating U. S. sanctions against some rogue nations, a person familiar with the matter revealed.

Requesting anonymity, the person said BNP Paribas was all set to plead guilty to criminal charges in Manhattan federal court on Monday. The move will put an end to a wide-ranging investigation that might bring the biggest-ever penalty on a financial institution in the U. S. history.

The person added that alleged violations of U. S. sanctions against Cuba, Iran and Sudan from 2002 to 2009, with some continuing until 2011, could bring a penalty of up to $9 billion for the French bank.

The ban on dollar clearing affects specific business lines, such as oil and gas transactions, as these transactions are mostly made in dollars. BNP Paribas wrongdoing first emerged to surface in 2007, when an informant revealed the bank's illegal transactions to Manhattan District Attorney's office.

The probe is being conducted by the Justice Department, U. S. Attorney Preet Bharara, New York Department of Financial Services' Superintendent Benjamin Lawsky, and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.

If BNP Paribas really pleads guilty on Monday, then it will be the second major European bank to plead guilty to criminal charges so far this year.

Last month, Credit Suisse Group AG pleaded guilty to charges in an offshore tax case and agreed to settle the case by paying $2.6 billion. It was accused of using secret Swiss accounts to help some U. S. individuals and companies hide money from American tax authorities.