U.S. seeking multi-billion dollar settlement with  France's biggest bank: report

US authorities are seeking several billion dollars from BNP Paribas to settle a probe into whether it violated US sanctions on several countries, the Wall Street Journal reported late Wednesday.

The total would be higher than what had been estimated in press reports said far.

The bank has told the French government it may be hit with fines exceeding three billion dollars, the Journal said. The Financial Times has said the figure could be in excess of 3.5 billion dollars.

But US officials are pushing the bank to pay billions more than the figure cited by BNP Paribas, the Journal said, quoting people with direct knowledge of the matter.

US prosecutors say that between 2002 and 2009 the bank violated US sanctions by doing business with Iran, Sudan and Cuba.

BNP chief executive Jean-Laurent Bonnafe, who came to the US last week to defend the bank, said Wednesday he was confident it could settle the affair.