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French Bank Fined $1.3 Billion for Cuba Sanctions Violations

U.S. federal prosecutors charged a French bank on Monday for “processing billions of dollars in transactions for Cuban banks” in violation of U.S. sanctions, ABC News reported. The Justice Department reportedly ordered Société Générale to pay a $1.3 billion fine, which the DOJ claims is the “second largest penalty ever imposed on a financial institution for violations of U.S. economic sanctions.” Prosecutors alleged the bank processed $13 billion in transactions that would have otherwise been rejected or blocked by the United States. The New York State Department of Financial Services also reportedly fined the bank $420 million for its involvement in other allegedly illegal transactions with Cuba, Iran, Libya and Sudan. “Today, Société Générale has admitted its willful violations of U.S. sanctions laws—and longtime concealment of those violations—which resulted in billions of dollars of illicit funds flowing through the U.S. financial system.” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said in a Justice Department press release. “Other banks should take heed: Enforcement of U.S. sanctions laws is, and will continue to be, a top priority of this Office and our partner agencies.”