Standard Chartered PLC (LON:STAN) (LON:STAC) revealed today that it plans to pay about $330 million to settle claims by U.S. government agencies that it had laundered hundreds of billions of dollars on behalf of Iran.
In August, the Bank agreed to pay US $340 million to the New York Department of Financial Services. The Bank is still in talks with the U.S. justice department, the treasury department, the Federal Reserve, and the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.
“Although this charge is clearly large, it needs to be put into the context of a company that is expected to generate about $7.5 billion of pretax profit in the current year,” said Gary Greenwood, a banking analyst at Shore Capital Ltd. in Liverpool. “It should now draw a line under the issue, while there appears to have been no material damage to the franchise”.
In August, Britain’s second largest bank by market value was accused by the head of DFS, Benjamin Lawsky, of assisting Iran in launderibg about $250 billion in violation of federal laws, maintaining false records, and handling money-spinning wire transfers for Iranian clients.
The British Bank said that it had been reviewing transactions it handled on behalf of Iranian companies and individuals during the period 2001 to 2007 before announcing the August settlement. Also, the bank was discussing potential sanctions violations with U.S. agencies that include the Department of Justice, the office of foreign asset control, the Federal Reserve group of New York, and the New York department of financial services.
‘‘There is not much to say, other than that we are close to reaching a final settlement with the remaining U.S. agencies,’’ Richard Meddings, the group finance director of the bank, said Thursday on a conference call. ‘‘Negotiations or discussions are progressing well’’.
Standard Chartered PLC (LON:STAN) (LON:STAC) is the latest big bank to be caught up in the act of money laundering and held by U.S. officials who are attempting to crack down on money laundering by drug cartels and terrorists.
Last month, HSBC Holdings plc (NYSE:HBC) (LON:HSBA), the other major British bank, kept aside $800 million to face probable fines emerging from a money laundering investigation, bringing its prerequisite all together to $1.5 billion. HSBC is still in negotiating terms with the U.S. authorities. HSBC Holdings plc (NYSE:HBC) (LON:HSBA) is expected to pay the biggest fine on record for a money laundering case and also stands the chance of facing criminal charges for the crime.
Yet another bank in June, ING, an entity of Dutch financial services company ING Group, closed a settlement with the U.S. treasury department for $619 million over the charges that it violated American sanctions against countries including Iran, Libya, and other countries.