France: BNP Paribas row 'puts EU-US trade pact at risk'

BNP exterior

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has said the reported $10bn (£6bn; 7.3bn euros) US fine being faced by banking giant BNP Paribas could hurt EU-US trade treaty talks.

Mr Fabius said the treaty had to be based on "reciprocity".

Media reports have suggested BNP Paribas is negotiating with US authorities over allegations of broken trade sanctions.

US President Barack Obama has dismissed French calls to intervene in the row.

According to media reports, BNP Paribas is alleged to have broken US trade sanctions against Sudan, Iran and Cuba.

Mr Fabius told RTL radio that negotiations over the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) could be hurt by the issue.

"This treaty can only exist on the basis of reciprocity," Mr Fabius told RTL radio. "If, in the case of a European bank, they were behaving in a unilateral way, and not on the basis of reciprocity, that could have negative consequences."

The EU and the US restarted transatlantic trade talks in May.

His warning comes during a visit by Mr Obama to Europe, where the US president held bilateral talks with his French counterpart, Francois Hollande.

On Thursday, Mr Obama dismissed any prospect that he might intervene to help BNP Paribas.

"The tradition of the United States is that the president does not meddle in prosecutions," he said.

"I do not pick up the phone and tell the attorney general how to prosecute cases that have been brought. I do not push for settlements of cases that have been brought. Those are decisions that are made by an independent Department of Justice."

France has been pressing the US over the size of the fine, which could almost wipe out BNP's entire 2013 pre-tax income of about 8.2bn euros (£6.7bn, $11.2bn).

Mr Fabius has previously said a fine of the size suggested would be "an extremely serious problem", an "unfair and unilateral decision" and "not reasonable".

In April, BNP Paribas said it had set aside $1.1bn to cover the cost of US penalties, but that the "amount of the fines could be far in excess of the amount of the provision".

More on This Story

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Business stories

RSS

BBC Business Live

  1.  
    RUSSIA GAS 06:49: BBC Radio 4

    Europe could cope if Russia were to interrupt gas supplies in retaliation to European sanctions, says Malcolm Bracken of stockbrokers Redmayne Bentley. Norway can increase oil and gas production and gas reserves are in a pretty healthy shape, he says. Vladimir Putin needs money from the West more than he's letting on so we shouldn't be too worried about the effect of sanctions, says Mr Bracken on Today.

     
  2.  
    BUSINESS RATES 06:43:

    More than 100 of the UK's biggest companies, including Tesco and Marks & Spencer, have called for an overhaul of business rates. In an open letter to the Daily Telegraph they say business rates "are no longer fit for purpose for the 21st century". The tax brings in £25bn for the Treasury annually.

     
  3.  
    OIL PRICES 06:35: BBC Radio 4

    Brent Crude fell below $97 a barrel on Monday for the first time in two and a half years. Malcolm Bracken of stockbrokers Redmayne Bentley explained the fall on the Today programme. "There's been a slowdown in China, cars are becoming more efficient, the war premium is falling, sanctions haven't really had an effect on oil production in Russia and money is tightening," he says.

     
  4.  
    ALIBABA SHARE SALE 06:20: Radio 5 live
    Alibaba head office, Hangzhou

    Alibaba has raised the price range of shares in its US stock market debut and could now raise $25bn (£15.4bn). The funds will allow the Chinese internet company "to make its mark" in the US market place says BBC Business presenter Rico Hizon on Wake Up to Money. Company executives are on an international road show to market the shares. Today there are in Singapore, tomorrow London.

     
  5.  
    SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE 06:12: Radio 5 live
    Scottish flag

    The leaders of the three main parties at Westminster have signed a pledge to devolve more powers to Scotland, if Scots reject independence. On Wake Up to Money Colletta Smith, the Economics Correspondent for BBC Scotland says it amounts to an "agreement to make some kind of agreement". Details will have to be worked out after the vote, she says.

     
  6.  
    PHONES 4U COLLAPSE 06:02: Radio 5 live
    Phones 4U

    "I'm not surprised it fell over," says fund manager, George Godber in reference to the failure of Phones 4U over the weekend. On Wake Up to Money Mr Godber says the company did "not have any room for financial manouevre" because its private equity owners had recently loaded it with £250m in debt. Phones 4U founder John Caudwell will be on Radio 5 at around 08:45.

     
  7.  
    06:00: Matthew West Business Reporter

    Morning folks as always you can get in touch with us here at bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk and on twitter @bbcbusiness.

     
  8.  
    05:59: Ben Morris Business Reporter

    Good morning. It's shaping up to be a busy morning with inflation figures due at 09:30 and we'll see what John Caudwell has to say about the demise of the company he founded, Phones 4U. Stay with us.

     

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.