June 12 - BNP Paribas' Chief Operating Officer will step down from his duties as the French bank wrestles with U.S. authorities over a potential $10 billion fine. As Sonia Legg reports, some suggest New York's regulator was behind the move.
It's just a few weeks since BNP Paribas learned U.S. authorities may fine the bank $10 billion for breaching sanctions. And now Chief Operating Officer George Chodron de Courcel is standing down. New York's banking regulator apparently requested the departure as part of a settlement, although Pierre Briancon from Reuters Breakingviews says that's not why he's going. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PIERRE BRIANCON, REUTERS BREAKINGVIEWS, SAYING: "The man is 64 - he will retire at the end of September but he just noticed a new law in France preventing him from holding more than five board seats so he is retiring at the end of June." But $10 billion is a hefty sum - even if a deal is done to make it a little less. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PIERRE BRIANCON, REUTERS BREAKINGVIEWS, SAYING: "We think that the questions of ultimate responsibility ultimately lies with the bank's current Chairman, who was the CEO when the alleged facts happened, Baudouin Prot, he has to ask himself the very serious question of whether he should stay or not." The French bank had been expecting penalties for evading sanctions between 2002 and 2009 in Iran, Sudan and other countries. But it had only set aside $1.1. A fine of almost 10 times that would certainly hurt - especially as the bank's market value has dropped by 15% since the initial provision was first announced four months ago.