City fears over US pressure on British banks

Kasmira Jefford
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PROMINENT City figures raised concerns yesterday that US authorities are increasingly targeting the British banking sector following damning allegations that Standard Chartered laundered billions of dollars.

The UK-listed firm is the second bank in two months to face US criticism for lax money laundering controls, after HSBC was accused of failing to scrutinise money being routed from countries including Mexico and Iran.

Writing in today’s City A.M, John Mann MP, a member of the Treasury select committee, describes “an increasing mantra in New York and Washington” to expose wrondoing at British banks.

While “nobody can excuse HSBC for alleged drugs money laundering or Standard Chartered for any Iranian sanctions busting”, he says “market manipulation, insider dealing and money laundering are historically more the culture and mindset of American banks than any other in the world”.

Tom Stocken, a partner at law firm Pinsent Masons, also warned: “We will see further clashes between US regulators and European businesses due to the extremely wide jurisdiction given to regulators by US laws.

“With plenty of emails heading through US servers, and as most international business is conducted in US dollars– and all US dollar transactions must be cleared through the New York banking system – US regulators have plenty of scope to act.”