SocGen agrees to more than $1 billion in fines over Libya, Libor probes

SocGen agrees to more than $1 billion in fines over Libya, Libor probes

By Karen Freifeld and Sudip Kar-Gupta

PARIS/NEW YORK (Reuters) - French bank Societe Generale will pay more than $1 billion to resolve criminal and civil charges in the United States and France for bribing Gaddafi-era Libyan officials and manipulating the Libor interest rate benchmark, U.S. authorities said on Monday.

The Paris-based bank is set to plead guilty in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, New York, to resolve the foreign bribery case, the Justice Department said in an announcement.

A representative of SocGen in France did not immediately provide a comment on the Justice Department announcement.

The resolution is the first coordinated between U.S. and French authorities in a foreign bribery case, the Justice Department said.

"Today’s resolution ... sends a strong message that transnational corruption and manipulation of our markets will be met with a global and coordinated law enforcement response," Acting Assistant Attorney General Cronan said in a statement.

The Justice Department penalties include a $585 million fine relating to a multi-year scheme to pay bribes to officials in Libya and $275 million for violations arising from its manipulation of Libor, the Justice Department said.

The bank has also agreed with the U.S. derivatives regulator, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), to pay $475 million for rigging Libor.

Earlier on Monday, SocGen said it had agreed to pay 250 million euros ($293 million) to the French treasury as part of the overall settlement. That fine will be deducted from the Justice Department penalty, the regulator said, bringing the bank's total settlement to just over $1 billion.

The penalties had already been covered by earlier provisions and booked into the bank's accounts, SocGen said. The bank had previously booked a provision of 2.3 billion euros ($2.7 billion) regarding those various probes.

Between 2004 and 2009, SocGen paid more than $90 million in bribes through a Libyan broker to secure 14 investments by Libyan state-owned financial institutions, the Justice Department said.

The bank will enter into a deferred prosecution agreement while its European subsidiary, SGA Société Générale Acceptance N.V., will plead guilty to one count of conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

SocGen also agreed to continue to cooperate with the Justice Department’s investigation and adopt and maintain enhanced compliance procedures, the Justice Department said.

The bank is one of many financial firms that has agreed to settle allegations of manipulating Libor, alongside Citigroup, Barclays, Deutsche Bank, HSBC and UBS.

($1 = 0.8531 euros)

(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Emmanuel Jarry; Writing by Michelle Price in Washington; Editing by Sarah White and Paul Simao)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

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Updated Date: Jun 05, 2018 00:06:59 IST

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