The French Bank BNP Paribas is said to be nearing a deal with US authorities over allegations it breached trade sanctions.
The deal would see the Paris-based bank pony up $8 to $9 billion (5.8 to 6.7 billion euros) for violating sanctions against Sudan, Iran and Cuba from 2002 to 2009.
US prosecutors may also press BNP Paribas to plead guilty to criminal charges it conspired to circumvent the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, rather than to simply pay the fine.
While the final details of a potential settlement have not been agreed upon yet, media cited people familiar with the negotiations as saying the two sides had come to a broad agreement in principle.
In late May, the Wall Street Journal reported US prosecutors had demanded the bank pay at least $10 billion in punitive charges. Other parts of the deal may include banning BNP Paribas from completing transactions in US dollars for several months.
The row over US sanctions against pariah states has been a bone of contention between Washington and Paris, and the French government has even said there could be repercussions for the planned transatlantic free trade agreement.
cjc/uhe (dpa, Reuters, AFP, Bloomberg)