Hollande In Plea To Obama Over $10bn Bank Fine
The French president has warned of damage to trans-Atlantic trade talks if the US goes ahead with a reported $10bn (£6bn) fine against BNP Paribas.
Francois Hollande has written to Barack Obama describing such a penalty against the French bank, for allegedly breaking sanctions, as "disproportionate".
His intervention followed a chorus of criticism of the fine from a number of key French ministers.
The New York Times newspaper reported that the governor of the Bank of France, Christian Noyer, had even visited top US officials in New York last week to warn of grave effects on the financial system if it were imposed.
Mr Hollande is set to raise the issue with his US counterpart at a G7 dinner on Thursday, a day before the pair attend ceremonies to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings.
It is unclear whether the diplomatic pressure will delay the announcement of any fine, which was expected this week.
The case alleges BNP Paribas broke US sanctions against Iran, Sudan and Cuba as a matter of routine.
A similar case against RBS last year resulted in the British banking group paying £100m.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has previously insisted the size of the penalty being discussed was not justified or proportionate.
Finance Minister Michel Sapin told Les Echos financial newspaper that France was "ready to react firmly to protect its fundamental interests", if the US failed to be fair.
He said: "We are not defending a bank that has admitted to something reprehensible ... We must protect the stability of France's financial system to make sure that it can properly finance the economy."