Standard Chartered hit by $300m in Iran fines

Standard Chartered headquarters
Image caption The bank had previously disputed the value of the transactions that broke US sanctions

Standard Chartered will pay more than $300m (£187m) to settle charges it violated US sanctions on Iran, Burma, Libya and Sudan.

The UK-based bank has been fined $100m by the Federal Reserve while it will also pay the Department of Justice $227m, the regulators said.

The violations took place between 2001-2007 and the bank said it had changed its procedures since then.

It has already paid $340m to New York's Department of Financial Services.

The DFS had accused it of hiding 60,000 transactions with Iran worth $250bn over nearly a decade. In total, the bank has paid about $670m over suspect payments.

New York District Attorney Cyrus Vance said: "Banks occupy positions of trust. It is a bedrock principle that they must deal honestly with their regulators.

"These cases give teeth to sanctions enforcement, send a strong message about the need for transparency in international banking, and ultimately contribute to the fight against money laundering and terror financing."

Following the allegations earlier this year, the bank was negotiating with the Fed Bank of New York, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the District Attorney of New York's Office and the Department of Justice.

On Monday, Standard Chartered said that the issues in question took place primarily between 2001 and 2007 and that the settlement was the result of "nearly three years of intensive cooperation with regulators and prosecutors".

"In the more than five years since the events giving rise to today's settlements, the bank has completed a comprehensive review and upgrade of its compliance systems and procedures," the bank said.

Money controls

The Fed pointed to Standard Chartered's "unsafe and unsound practices".

"Under the cease and desist order, Standard Chartered must improve its program for compliance with US economic sanctions, Bank Secrecy Act, and anti-money-laundering requirements," the Fed said.

"The United Kingdom's Financial Services Authority, the home country supervisor of Standard Chartered, has agreed to assist the Federal Reserve in the supervision of the cease and desist order."

OFAC enacted a settlement of $132m as well, "which is deemed satisfied by the forfeiture announced by the Department of Justice".

Iran, Sudan and other nations are under US sanctions, meaning they are subject to controls on the transfer of money to and from the US.

Standard Chartered moved more than $200m through the US financial system primarily on behalf of Iranian and Sudanese clients by removing information that would have revealed the payments, the authorities said.

"These transactions otherwise would have been rejected, blocked, or stopped for investigation under OFAC regulations," the Justice Department said.

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