BNP Shuts Swiss Commodity Trade Finance Team Amid Frauds

Alexandre Rajbhandari Bloomberg 23 September 2020 (Bloomberg) — BNP Paribas SA is shutting its Swiss commodity trade finance business, exiting a sector it once dominated and which was hit by massive fraud. The plan could impact as many as 120 employees in its Geneva offices, the French bank said in a statement late Tuesday. Closing the business had been under consideration since at least the summer, people familiar with the situation told Bloomberg at the time. The former Paribas investment bank’s office in Geneva helped pioneer the use of letters of credit to finance oil trading in the 1970s, and became one of the leading lenders to the industry. However, BNP Paribas had been shrinking in commodity trade finance since 2014, when it was fined $8.9 billion for violating U.S. sanctions. Trading executives still estimated that BNP Paribas ranked in the top 10 providers of such financing. But in August, the bank halted all new commodity trade finance deals as it reviewed its involvement in the business in Europe, Middle East and Africa, Bloomberg previously reported. The collapse of Singaporean oil trader Hin Leong Trading (Pte) Ltd. when crude prices crashed this year drove several banks to reduce their exposure… continue reading

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