You are here
Standard Chartered chief rejects NY claims on Iran
LONDON—The Bank of England criticised New York financial regulators yesterday for unilaterally accusing Standard Chartered of illegally laundering oil money for Iran, while the chief executive of the embattled London bank denied claims of systematic sanctions-busting.
On Monday, the New York State Department of Financial Services accused Standard Chartered of laundering US$250 billion of Iranian oil money over a decade in defiance of an American order prohibiting such transactions. The bank admits violations totaling US$14 million.
Standard Chartered chief executive, Peter Sands, rejected the US investigators’ central accusation that bank officials had conspired with Iran to evade US sanctions by systematically removing Iranian identification from wire transfers of Iranian cash cleared through its New York office. Sands offered a partial apology in a conference call with journalists, admitting the bank had violated US sanctions law in about 300 transactions from 2001 to 2007. But he billed these as errors rather than calculated fraud.
“There was no systematic attempt to circumvent sanctions,” Sands said, describing the 300 cash transfers as “clearly wrong and we are sorry that they happened.” But he described the New York regulators’ wider accusations as groundless.
New York authorities estimate the true scale of deceptive transactions at 60,000 and include deals as recently as 2010. Standard Chartered has operated on Wall Street since 1976 but could lose its US license if found guilty of sanctions-busting. Sands said the charges of wrongdoing had already caused unfair damage to the bank’s reputation.
Earlier, responding to questions at a news conference, Bank of England Governor Mervyn King suggested that New York authorities had moved too quickly. He contrasted the New York announcement on Standard Chartered with the coordinated approach taken by American and British agencies to investigate Barclays’ manipulation of the London interbank offered rate, a key interest-rate index known as LIBOR.
User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Guardian Media Limited or its staff. Guardian Media Limited accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Please help us keep out site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option.
Guardian Media Limited reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed.