Italy's UniCredit to pay $1.3 billion to settle U.S. sanctions probe

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(Reuters) – Italy’s top bank UniCredit SpA and two subsidiaries have agreed to pay $1.3 billion to U.S. authorities to settle probes of violations of U.S. sanctions on Iran and other countries, U.S. authorities said on Monday.

FILE PHOTO: Unicredit bank logo is seen in the old city centre of Siena, Italy June 29, 2017. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini/File Photo

In addition, UniCredit Bank AG, the bank’s German unit, agreed to plead guilty to federal and New York state criminal charges for illegally moving hundreds of millions of dollars through the U.S. financial system on behalf of sanctioned entities, the U.S. Department of Justice and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said.

The resolution ends a six-year investigation that has hung over the bank and follows last week’s $1.1 billion settlement by London-based Standard Chartered Plc with U.S. and British authorities over similar conduct.

The German unit’s guilty pleas are connected to violations of U.S. sanctions programs, including those related to IRISL, the state-owned Iranian shipping company sanctioned over weapons of mass destruction, authorities said.

UniCredit’s German unit went to “great lengths” to help the Iranian shipping company evade sanctions and access the U.S. financial system, said U.S. Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski.