Standard Chartered will pay $327 million to settle charges it violated for US sanctions on Iran, Myanmar, Libya and Sudan
Washington: British bank Standard Chartered will pay the US $327 million to settle charges it violated US sanctions on Iran, Myanmar, Libya and Sudan, the US Treasury announced, reports PTI.
US authorities said the bank had stripped messages on financial transfers routed through US banks of information that would show the beneficiaries were businesses and entities that fell under US sanctions.
The fines from the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and other US federal and local regulators took to $667 million the total the bank has been charged for sanctions violations.
In August the New York state banking watchdog fined Standard Chartered $340 million in the same investigation, saying it hid 60,000 transactions with proscribed Iranian clients worth $250 billion over 10 years.
"Today's settlement is the result of an exhaustive interagency investigation into Standard Chartered Bank's attempts to violate US sanctions programs through the 'stripping' from payment messages of critical information," said OFAC Director Adam Szubin in a statement.
The sanctions avoidance involved mainly the bank's London head office and its branch in Dubai, which masked the details of messages so US authorities would not see the real identity of those sending and receiving the payments.
"As a result, millions of dollars of payments were routed through US banks for or on behalf of sanctioned parties in apparent violation of US sanctions," OFAC said in a statement.
OFAC added that the settlement also covered eight apparent violations of US sanctions on druglords.
In August 2003, the bank wrote in a letter to the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control that the use of cover payments for transactions related to sanctioned countries was contrary to its global instructions.
However, the bank used the cover payment method to effect billions of dollars in payments originating from Iran, Libya, Burma and Sudan through its New York branch.
During an extensive examination, the bank failed to disclose to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and New York Department of Financial Services that it was processing billions of dollars of non-transparent payments for customers in sanctioned countries.
Due to the actions taken by the bank to remedy its conduct and its willingness to acknowledge responsibility for its actions, the Justice Department would recommend the dismissal of the criminal complaint in 24 months provided the bank fully cooperates with and abides by the terms of the deferred prosecution agreement, the Justice Department said.
In a separate agreement entered into with the Federal Reserve, Standard Chartered would have to improve its programme for compliance with US economic sanctions and anti-money-laundering requirements.