StanChart chair admits false claims on Iran

Tim Wallace
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STANDARD Chartered’s chairman yesterday admitted falsely claiming the bank’s sanction-breaking deals with Iran were accidental and not deliberate.

Sir John Peace had dismissed the breaches as “clerical errors” earlier this month, arguing no staff had been fired or had their bonuses clawed back over the problem because there was “no wilful act to avoid sanctions”.

But yesterday he conceded that was wrong.

“I made certain statements that I very much regret and that were at best inaccurate,” he said in a statement. “My statement that SCB ‘had no willful act to avoid sanctions’ was wrong, and directly contradicts SCB’s acceptance of responsibility in the deferred prosecution agreement and accompanying factual statement.”

Those settlements with four US regulators cost the bank $667m (£567m).

The claims covered transactions for customers in countries including Iran, Burma and Libya from 2001 to 2007.

The problems initially flared up in August 2012 when the New York Department for Financial Services accused the bank of covering up $250bn of transactions. Standard Chartered said only $14m of those broke the rules. After a brief argument it agreed to settle the dispute.

Nobody at the bank has been fired over the sanction-breaking.

The only financial penalty has come through a reduced bonus pool, affecting the whole workforce’s variable pay, rather than any individual losing their award or having previous years’ pay clawed back.