In 2014 the US imposed the largest fine until then for "sanctions busting" on BNP Paribas in the amount of $9 billion for circumventing sanctions on Sudan, Iran and Cuba.

Have other European companies been fined substantial amounts since then (for similar reasons), in particular since Trump took power?

2 Answers 2


According to a CRS document that is focused on Iran, two European companies were fined in April 2019, for dealing with Iran:

Standard Chartered (UK); April 2019; $639 million; Dubai branch of Standard Chartered processed Iran-related transactions to or through Standard Chartered branch in New York.

Unicredit AG (Germany, Austria, Italy); April 2019; $1.3 billion; For illicitly processing transactions through the U.S. financial system on behalf of Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL)

There's a Reuters piece of news with more details on the latter. It appears the fine was for conduct between 2002-2011 and on somewhat similar lines as the BNP one:

The German bank disguised transactions between 2002 and 2011 in part by stripping words like Sudan and Tehran from payment messages to New York financial institutions, the regulator said.

As for Standard Chartered, the US fine covered conduct between 2007 and 2014. The UK authorities have also fined the company £102 million for roughly the same issue(s). US authorities had already fined Standard Chartered in 2012 for sanctions-related conduct between 2001 and 2007.


The Iran Nuclear Deal that Trump pulled out of seemed to heat things up a bit, and Trump threatened to fine companies that did business with Iran, but it's unclear whether any fines were actually handed out because of that..

In 2018, ZTE was fined for breaking sanctions for North Korea and also Iran. Though, ZTE is a Chinese company, not a European one.

That seems to be the biggest fine imposed for sanction breaking in Trump's presidency so far, however. At least that I could find, there seems to be no European companies.


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