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U.S. ends Societe Generale sanctions case after bank complies with agreement

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FILE PHOTO: The logo of Societe Generale is seen on the headquarters at the financial and business district of La Defense near Paris
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  • GLE.PA

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Justice on Tuesday ended a criminal case against Societe Generale SA related to violations of U.S. sanctions, after the French bank agreed to pay $1.34 billion and met the terms of a three-year deferred prosecution agreement.

Societe Generale agreed to the payment in November 2018 to resolve federal and New York state claims that from 2003 to 2013 it handled billions of dollars of transactions for parties associated with countries subject to embargoes or sanctions, including Cuba, Iran, Libya and Sudan.

U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel in Manhattan on Tuesday signed an order in which the Justice Department said it "will not now proceed with the prosecution" of Societe Generale because the bank complied with its three-year agreement.

Societe Generale reached a separate agreement at the time to pay $95 million to resolve a New York regulator's claims it had violated anti-money laundering regulations.

The bank at the time acknowledged and regretted the shortcomings identified in its settlements, and said it had cooperated with authorities to resolve them.

Societe Generale's $1.34 billion payout was the second-largest against a bank for violating U.S. sanctions.

The largest was an approximately $8.9 billion payout by France's BNP Paribas SA in 2015.

Deferred prosecution agreements are sometimes viewed as a form of probation that let companies avoid criminal charges if they comply with the terms.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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