New York state financial regulators appointed a corporate monitor within the US offices of BNP Paribas late last year to keep an eye on its activities, the New York Times reported Tuesday.
That quietly designated monitor is Shirah Neiman, a former deputy United States attorney in Manhattan, the Times said, quoting people briefed on the matter.
The French bank is suspected of violating a US embargo by allowing transactions with blacklisted countries such as Sudan, Iran and Cuba.
The bank could be hit with a fine of up to nine billion dollars and other sanctions, and could plead guilty as early as next week, the newspaper said.
The New York state Department of Financial Services is on the verge of appointing a similar watchdog for Credit Suisse, which is accused of helping Americans avoid paying taxes, the paper said.
In this case the person could be Neil Barofsky, a former federal prosecutor who oversaw the so-called TARP, the US program to bail out banks after the financial crisis of 2008.
Barofsky is now a lawyer at a private firm. In a recent book on his experience in the oversight role, he lambasted some Wall Street practices, the Times said.