Standard Chartered in $340M Settlement on Iran Charges

Standard Chartered Plc.  has reached a $340 million settlement with New York banking regulators over allegations the bank hid illegal transactions with Iran.

The New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) released a statement Tuesday saying the transactions between London-based Standard Chartered and Iran that violated U.S. sanction laws totaled at least $250 billion.

In addition to the civil fine, the settlement also requires the bank to install a monitor for at least two years who will report directly to New York regulators and who will “evaluate the money-laundering risk controls in the New York branch and implementation of appropriate corrective measures.” In addition, DFS examiners will be placed on site at the bank, according to the statement.

Finally, the settlement requires Standard Chartered to permanently install personnel within its New York branch to oversee and audit any offshore money-laundering due diligence and monitoring undertaken by the bank.

A court hearing scheduled for Wednesday to review the charges has been cancelled with the agreement.

"We will continue to work with our federal and state partners on this matter,” Benjamin M. Lawsky, New York Superintendent of Financial Services, said in the statement.

Standard Chartered is also involved in a separate investigation by the  U.S. Justice Department and the Manhattan district attorney tied to similar allegations that U.S. sanctions were violated. Those charges have not been settled.

Lawsky had threatened to pull Standard Chartered’s banking license over allegations the bank continued to do business with Iran despite U.S. economic sanctions against the outlaw nation, a devastating punishment that would have severely curtailed the bank’s access to U.S. financial markets.

A spokesman for Standard Chartered didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

In a statement issued shortly after the charges were unveiled last week, the bank “strongly" rejected the accusations. The bank claimed that a past internal review showed that the total value of transactions which did not follow U.S. regulations related to the sanctions was under $14 million.