Photo: AP
Standard Chartered Plc
Photo: AP

British bank to pay $340M fine over Iran ties

Standard Chartered to pay New York authorities millions for breaching international business sanctions imposed on Iran

Standard Chartered Plc will pay $340 million to New York's bank regulator over transactions linked to Iran, in a speedily arranged deal likely to cheer its shareholders.


The deal with New York Superintendent of Financial Services Benjamin Lawsky still left the British bank facing a separate probe of Iran-linked transactions by other US authorities.


The deal on Tuesday capped a week of transatlantic tension and a furor over why a state agency had upstaged the other authorities.


The resolution also averted a hearing on Wednesday at which the bank had been called to demonstrate why its license to do business in New York should not be revoked.


Ian Gordon, an analyst at Investec Securities in London, said that the risk of further regulatory costs "appear sufficiently contained" to allow the bank's shares to build on a rally from their lows after Lawsky brought his case last week.


"Standard Chartered's management team have conducted themselves admirably in the face of extreme provocation," Gordon said.


In his announcement on Tuesday, Lawsky said the bank had "agreed that the conduct at issue involved transactions of at least $250 billion." But he gave no details on what protections the deal gave Standard Chartered.


Standard Chartered confirmed that the two sides had reached an agreement, including the payment of $340 million, and said detailed terms would be concluded soon.


"It was a pragmatic decision in the best interest of shareholders and customers," a spokesman for the bank said.


In addition to the civil penalty, Lawsky said the bank agreed to an outside monitor for at least two years to check on controls on money-laundering at its New York branch.


Within minutes of the announcement, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo lauded the "effectiveness and leadership" of the new agency.


"New York needed a tough and fair regulator for the banking and insurance industries to protect consumers and investors," Cuomo said.


The Justice Department defended its record in fighting money laundering and said it was working with its regulatory and other partners "to determine what actions might be appropriate in this matter."


The Manhattan district attorney's office also said it would continue to work with its partners on sanctions violations.


Lloyds Banking Group and Credit Suisse Group have previously agreed to pay settlements of $350 million and $536 million, respectively. ING Bank NV paid a settlement of $619 million. HSBC Holdings Plc currently is under investigation by US law enforcement, according to bank regulatory filings.



פרסום ראשון: 08.19.12, 15:23
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