U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, issued the following statement on reports that BNP Paribas, one of France's largest banks, plead guilty at a New York state court to assisting the Cuban, Iranian, and Sudanese regimes to illegally circumvent U.S. sanctions. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
"This troubling admission of wrongdoing by BNP reminds us that we must remain vigilant of entities whose business interests lead them to put profits above the law, human rights, and human dignity. It's no surprise to find the brutal regimes of Cuba, Iran, and Sudan seeking to evade sanctions in order to bankroll their oppressive and lawless activities. Sadly, the billions of dollars that this company has helped transfer to these countries are bolstering these abusive regimes and enabling them to continue to commit atrocities against their own citizens.
"I commend the efforts of state and federal authorities who put this case together and reached this guilty plea from BNP Paribas. We can be sure, however, that is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to banks willing to assist regimes evade U.S. sanctions. Many others will continue to engage in these activities until it is not profitable for them to do so. This is why the U.S. must make it a priority to enforce the sanctions which we have worked so hard with our partners to create and impose, and continue to impose strict penalties against those who violate them."