Standard Chartered to Pay $340M Fine

Standard Chartered has agreed to pay a fine of $340 million to the New York Department of Financial Services after superintendent Benjamin M. Lawsky charged the bank with hiding more than 60,000 financial transactions amounting to more than $250 billion for Iranian state-owned banks, including its central bank and other clients.

The bank also has “agreed that the conduct at issue involved transactions of at least $250 billion,” a statement from the regulator says. Last week, the New York regulator threatened to tear up the bank’s state license.

The $340 million penalty is far more than the estimated $5 million in fines the U.K. bank was thought to be seeking, based on what it said were just $14 million in fines that were noncompliant.

A hearing scheduled for tomorrow has been cancelled.

Standard Chartered also agreed to “install a monitor for a term of at least two years,” who will report directly to the New York regulator to assess the bank’s money-laundering risk controls in its New York branch as well as “corrective measures” sought by the regulator.

Also, New York state examiners shall be placed on site at the bank’s New York branch, and it must now “permanently install personnel within” these offices “to oversee and audit any offshore money-laundering due diligence and monitoring” undertaken by the bank.

The Federal Reserve, U.S. Treasury Dept., the U.S. Justice Dept. and the Manhattan district attorney has also been probing the U.K. bank as far back as January 2010, a source close to the matter says. Unclear at this point is whether those probes are ongoing, however the statement from the New York regulator indicates the bank still faces these queries as well.

"We will continue to work with our federal and state partners on this matter," Lawsky’s statement says.