Swiss bank Credit Suisse has agreed to pay $536 million (SFr558.3 million) to settle a United States probe into dealings with countries subject to US sanctions.
The probe has been looking into dollar payments made between 2002 and 2007 with countries, which include North Korea, Cuba, Libya, Syria and Iran.
The US Justice Department announced the settlement on Wednesday, saying it was the biggest forfeiture ever against a company for violations of that type.
"Credit Suisse's decades-long scheme to flout the rules that govern our financial institutions robbed our system of the legitimacy that is fundamental to its success," Attorney General Eric Holder said at a news conference at department headquarters in Washington.
"We cannot let this stand, and [Wednesday’s] settlement sends a strong message that we will not let it stand."
Credit Suisse swiftly cooperated with the authorities, US officials said and therefore the Justice Department is recommending the termination of the enforcement action in two years if the bank complies with the settlement terms.
Credit Suisse said in a statement that it was committed to the highest standards of integrity and regulatory compliance in all its business and that it took the matter "extremely seriously". It said that had improved its procedures to prevent such practices from happening again.
The settlement is the second heavy penalty paid by a Swiss bank to US authorities this year. CS rival UBS agreed in February to pay $780 million to avoid criminal charges for helping about 50,000 rich Americans evade taxes.
swissinfo.ch and agencies
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