StanChart settles US’s Iran charges

Standard Chartered (StanChart) has agreed to pay another $327 million (R2.8 billion) of fines, in line with the bank’s forecast, after regulators alleged that it violated US sanctions with Iran.

After paying a $340m settlement in August to New York’s Department of Financial Services, the UK-based bank said it expected to pay about $330m to resolve other investigations.

The bank said on Monday that it would pay $100m to the US Federal Reserve and $227m to the US Department of Justice and the district attorney for New York County. The Federal Reserve said the settlement included a $132m fine to the Treasury Department’s office of foreign assets control.

“The orders address unsafe and unsound practices related to inadequate and incomplete responses to examiner inquiries as well as insufficient oversight of its compliance programme for US economic sanctions, Bank Secrecy Act, and anti-money-laundering requirements,” the Fed said.

Standard Chartered was accused in August by Benjamin Lawsky, the head of the New York Department of Financial Services, of helping Iran launder about $250bn in violation of federal laws, keeping false records and handling lucrative wire transfers for Iranian clients.

The bank had sent them through its New York unit in so-called U-turn transactions with client names omitted to hide their provenance, Lawsky said. Standard Chartered settled that probe on August 14, a day before it was due to defend itself to the regulator.

Monday’s announcement “draws a line under the situation”, said Gary Greenwood, an analyst at Shore Capital. “The company has continued to perform over the period.”

Standard Chartered rose 0.8 percent to £14.98 (R208.37) in London on Monday, valuing the lender at £36.1bn. The bank has risen 6.3 percent this year.

Standard Chartered said it “has completed a comprehensive review and upgrade of its compliance systems and procedures” in the five years since the events giving rise to the settlements. – Bloomberg


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