BNP Exec Fired Amid $9 Billion U.S. Sanctions Wins $999,000

(Bloomberg) -- A BNP Paribas SA executive who was among a dozen the bank was forced to remove as part of a 2014 settlement for violating U.S. sanctions won $999,000 even though Paris judges chastised him for his “inappropriate behavior.”

The court of appeals ordered the French lender to pay 861,500 euros to Dominique Remy, former head of structured finance for BNP’s corporate and investment bank, saying he was unfairly dismissed in April 2014. The court said BNP failed to act against Remy in due time despite being aware for years that he and his team were violating U.S. embargoes.

This week’s award means Remy has won 1.22 million euros after his firing. A Paris employment tribunal gave him 360,000 euros ($417,000) last year.

But the appeal court cited the U.S. investigation into BNP to dismiss several of Remy’s demands in a lawsuit where the 35-year bank employee was seeking a total of 5.3 million euros, according to the Oct. 10 ruling.

Remy “took part in the 2000s, like other executives of the group, in carrying out the repeated violations of the American demands,” the judges said in their ruling. His behavior -- “inappropriate” and “damaging” to the bank -- make Remy’s request for 1.2 million euros in deferred compensation for years before his firing “poorly justified,” the judges added.

BNP agreed to plead guilty four years ago to U.S. violations and pay almost $9 billion after admitting it processed that same amount from 2004 to 2012 in banned transactions involving Sudan, Iran and Cuba. As part of the settlement, New York’s top banking regulator said it required the bank to refrain from employing people including Remy, and co-Chief Operating Officer Georges Chodron de Courcel.

Under French employment law, companies must act within two months of learning about violations or they become time-barred.

Officials at BNP said the bank doesn’t comment on court cases. Remy’s lawyer, Marie-Alice Jourde, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

U.S. Report

The Paris court of appeals judges cited whole paragraphs of the U.S. report related to BNP’s embargo-violations.

Top BNP executives authorized U.S. dollar transactions with Cuba -- despite an embargo against Cuba since the 1960s -- to maintain long-term business relationships and due to the cost of converting these credit facilities in euros, the American investigation found, according to the judges.

Concerning a Sudan embargo, BNP “knowingly continued to carry out thousands of transactions with sanctions entities during about a year of a total amount in excess of $6 billion,” according to the U.S. report, the judges said. The ruling also lists hundreds of millions of dollars in illegal transactions with Iran.

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