Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., and a team of assistant district attorneys and analysts from the Office’s Major Economic Crimes Bureau today received the Assistant Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service from the U.S. Department of Justice in recognition of significant achievements in the case of the People v. BNP Paribas, which resulted in a guilty plea to criminal charges and $1.9 billion in state forfeitures and penalties. The case was part of a joint federal and state prosecution. The award is presented annually to honor individuals for their unique contributions and dedication to achieving the goals of the Criminal Division and Department of Justice.
“Investigating and prosecuting cases involving illicit international money movement has brought about important reforms to the way financial institutions conduct business in American marketplaces, and has also heightened awareness and vigilance worldwide when it comes to dealing with sanctioned nations,” said District Attorney Vance. “Moreover, the monies forfeited by entities such as BNP Paribas are now being used to fund innovative, transformative criminal justice projects, such as upgrading essential NYPD technology and ending rape kit backlogs nationwide—initiatives that demonstrate the ability of law enforcement to bring about change on a local, national, and international level.”
The individuals from the District Attorney’s Office being honored include Assistant District Attorney Polly Greenberg, Chief of the Major Economic Crimes Bureau; Assistant District Attorney Christopher Conroy, Principal Deputy Chief of the Major Economic Crimes Bureau; Assistant District Attorney Edward Starishevsky, Senior Counsel for International Financial Investigations; Assistant District Attorney Kim Han, Deputy Chief of the Tax Crimes Unit; and Investigative Analyst Bonita Robinson, of the Major Economic Crimes Bureau.
In June, District Attorney Vance, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Jr., and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara announced the resolution of a joint investigation into the criminal conduct of BNP Paribas S.A., the largest bank in France, through a guilty plea to criminal charges of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree and Conspiracy in the Fifth Degree. As part of the plea, BNPP also agreed to forfeit a record total of $8,833,600,000 in criminal forfeiture and penalties.
Within the past five years, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office’s investigations against several major banks for violating international sanctions have resulted in the forfeiture of approximately $1.8 billion going to the State of New York and more than $860 million going to the City of New York.
Currently, the BNPP settlement stands as the largest ever fine for sanctions violations.