Bloomberg News

Standard Chartered Near Accord on Iran Clients, WSJ Says

November 29, 2012

Standard Chartered Near Accord on Iranian Clients, WSJ Says

A pedestrian passes the headquarters of Standard Chartered Plc in London, U.K. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Standard Chartered Plc (STAN) is nearing a settlement with the U.S. to pay around $300 million in fines over transactions with Iranian clients that may have violated sanctions against the country, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The move would end investigations brought by the U.S. Justice Department, the U.S. Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve and the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, the newspaper said, citing unnamed people involved in the negotiations. Talks to resolve the matter are continuing and all sides aim to conclude discussions in coming days, it said.

A sweeping accord with the U.S. would follow a consent order signed by the London-based bank in September that completed a record $340 million settlement with New York’s Department of Financial Services involving wire transfers on behalf of Iranian clients. The bank also agreed to install a monitor for two years, according to the New York regulator.

“The whole Iranian situation has been a tragic chapter for Standard Chartered, and probably an exception in what has otherwise been one of the better managed and fundamentally strong international banks,” Sandy Mehta, the Hong Kong-based chief executive officer of Value Investment Principals Ltd., said in an e-mail today.

Joan Vollero, a spokeswoman for the Manhattan District Attorney, and Bill Miller, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Washington, declined to comment on the report. Julie Gibson, a spokeswoman at Standard Chartered, declined to comment, as did Barbara Hagenbaugh, a spokeswoman at the Federal Reserve.

Record Settlement

The New York settlement amount was the largest ever paid to an individual regulator as part of a money-laundering accord. In June, ING Bank NV agreed to pay $619 million to settle similar allegations. That sum was split evenly between the federal government and the Manhattan district attorney’s office.

Standard Chartered rose 1.7 percent to HK$180 as of 1:31 p.m. in Hong Kong, outpacing the Hang Seng Index’s 1.2 percent gain. The shares have jumped gaining 5.9 percent this year.

“As the settlement amount is expected to be finalized shortly and to be within forecasts, this regulatory overhang should be removed from StanChart’s shares,” Adam Chan, a Hong Kong-based analyst at CCB International Securities Ltd., said by telephone today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Karen Gullo in San Francisco at kgullo@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net


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