A BNP Paribas sign is pictured on a building of the bank in Geneva July 1, 2014. REUTERS/Pierre Albouy
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JPMorgan Chase & Co. unwittingly helped violate U.S. sanctions as a French bank hid billions of dollars in transactions involving Sudan and Cuba, according to court documents and people with knowledge of the matter.BNP Paribas used a network of non-U.S. banks, including at least nine Arab banks, to disguise U.S. dollar transactions, according to court papers.The satellite bank would then transfer the money to the beneficiary by submitting the funds through JPMorgan without any mention of Sudan, according to the statement of facts, which identified the bank only as "U.S. Bank 1 ".In switching to JPMorgan, BNP Paribas executives relied on the legal opinion, which incorrectly suggested that U.S. authorities might not be able to punish BNP Paribas for prohibited transactions if no U.S. branch of the bank was involved, according to the statement of facts.That same year, Cleary Gottlieb informed BNP Paribas in two other opinions that U.S. sanctions could apply even if transactions were processed through JPMorgan rather than BNP Paribas' New York branch.
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