Bank fine triggers French-US spat

France’s biggest bank, BNP Paribas, has become the subject of a transatlantic row. It could be fined around $10bn by the US authorities as the price for violating sanctions against states on America’s blacklist, such as Iran and Sudan.

It is also likely to be temporarily banned from clearing US dollar transactions. Early this week France’s foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, called the fine disproportionate and “completely unreasonable”. He suggested that the affair would damage talks to agree a transatlantic trade pact. Such a pact would be the biggest regional trade deal ever struck.

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