The comments came just hours before the two leaders were to meet in the French capital
BNP has been negotiating for months with authorities in the US on a settlement to end a criminal probe into alleged payments to
There have been media reports that US regulators want the bank to pay more than
Hollande warned on the margins of
He also argued that "jobs, economic activity and financing" are at stake. The eurozone exited recession last year, but has been struggling with sluggish bank lending and high unemployment.
Hollande said he would raise the issue with Obama during their talks in
"The tradition of the US is that the president does not meddle in prosecutions," he said. "I do not pick up the phone and tell the attorney general how to prosecute cases."
"Perhaps it is a different tradition than exists in other countries, but it is designed to make sure that the rule of law is not in any way impacted by political expediency," he added. "So this will be determined by US attorneys in discussion with the representatives of the bank."
But Obama said he thought "it would have been preferable to press the pause button."
"I have expressed some concerns, and I don't think I'm alone in this, about continuing significant defence deals with
But Obama added that Hollande's decision to proceed with the deal "does not negate the broader cooperation that we've had," notably when it comes to potential sanctions on
"On a whole range of issues, we're seeing intense cooperation," Obama added. "The relationship between the US and
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