Aug 14 - The U.K.'s Standard Chartered reached a settlement with a New York regulator over accusations it conducted unlawful business with Iran, avoiding a potentially embarrassing hearing. Conway G. Gittens reports.
A day before what could have been a revealing hearing, Standard Chartered is settling with a New York regulator. The UK bank agreed to pay $340 million to put to rest, in part, accusations that it hid $250 billion in transactions tied to Iran. The New York Department of Financial Services had threatened to revoke the bank's license to operate in New York. Calling the agreement a "pragmatic decision in the best interests of shareholders and customers", Standard Chartered also agreed to set up a two-year monitor of money-laundering risk controls in New York. A civil penalty of $340 million is just a drop in the bucket compared to amounts speculated earlier in the day. It will likely give London-listed shares a pop after losing a quarter of their value when the allegations were revealed a week ago. But this doesn't close the door on other investigations. The U.S. Treasury says it will continue to partner with other state and federal agencies to probe whether Standard Chartered went against U.S. sanctions. Conway Gittens, Reuters