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Court orders French bank to face suit in US over role in genocide in Sudan

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Another French investment in Africa, BNP Paribas, a French bank, suffered blow after it was ordered by a U.S. judge to face a lawsuit alleging that it helped Sudan’s government commit genocide between 1997 and 2011 by providing banking services that violated American sanctions.

The judge found that there were enough facts to suggest a connection between BNP Paribas’ financing and the human rights abuses carried out by the Sudanese government during that time period.

The lawsuit, brought by U.S. residents who fled regions in Sudan affected by the conflict, accuses the bank of facilitating atrocities such as murder, mass rape, and torture.

The plaintiffs are seeking unspecified damages in the proposed class action.

BNP Paribas had previously settled with the U.S. government in 2014, agreeing to plead guilty and pay a substantial penalty for transferring funds on behalf of entities from Sudan, Iran, and Cuba that were under economic sanctions.

This settlement was related to violations of U.S. economic sanctions.

The judge’s decision to allow the lawsuit to proceed is based on the bank’s acknowledgment that its employees were aware of its role in providing Sudanese entities access to the U.S. banking system.

The U.S. government officially recognized the conflict in Sudan as genocide in 2004.

The lawsuit was originally filed in 2016, dismissed in 2018 by a different judge, but then revived by a federal appeals court in 2019.

The case will continue to unfold in the coming weeks.

 

 


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