Iran Sanctions Bust to Cost Standard Chartered Another Billion

MANHATTAN (CN) — Some seven years after it forfeited $227 million for violating Iran sanctions, the U.K.-based Standard Chartered Bank agreed Tuesday to pay more than $1 billion for related conduct.

“Today’s resolution sends a clear message to financial institutions and their employees: if you circumvent U.S. sanctions against rogue states like Iran — or assist those who do — you will pay a steep price,” Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski said in a statement.

The British bank must dole out fines and forfeitures to three different U.S. government entities: the Department of Justice, New York state regulators and the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.

On top of the financial penalties, Standard Charted agreed to an amended deferred prosecution agreement, updating the one into which it entered in 2012.

“As a result of this criminal conspiracy, SCB processed approximately 9,500 transactions totaling approximately $240 million through the U.S. financial system on behalf of SCB customers with known Iranian connections,” the 6-page consent agreement states. 

Prosecutors allowed the bank’s independent monitoring to expire on March 31, without moving for an extension.  

Although the bank won a two-year reprieve of any prosecution, two of its employees have been charged criminally.

An unnamed ex-relationship manager at the bank’s Dubai office pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the United States and violate Iran sanctions, and Mahmoud Reza Elyassi, an Iranian national who worked at the bank’s Dubai branch, has been indicted for money laundering and participating in that conspiracy.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance announced that New York City and the state will each receive $141.7 million from his office.

“My office’s unique jurisdiction and expert personnel have again enabled us to deliver hundreds of millions in ill-gotten gains to the people of New York while contributing to America’s longstanding effort to promote democratic values around the world,” Vance said.

Three years after Standard Chartered’s first deferred prosecution agreement, New York’s then-top watchdog threatened to revoke the bank’s license and labeled it a “rogue institutions.” 

In a statement, the bank’s CEO Bill Winters wrote: “We are pleased to have resolved these matters and to put these historical issues behind us.”

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