WASHINGTON — BNP Paribas' likely criminal plea and payment of a massive fine to U.S. law enforcement authorities have ballooned into a full-scale international incident, with French President Francois Hollande raising the issue directly at dinner with President Obama on Thursday.

The negotiations between state, federal and now international authorities have become a flash point for several major debates, including whether large institutions remain "too big to jail" and whether the U.S. is treating foreign banks like BNP Paribas of Paris differently than domestic banks.

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