Monday 1 October 2018 5:37 pm

Standard Chartered reportedly facing $1.5bn Iran sanctions fine


Standard Chartered is reportedly facing a fine of as much as $1.5bn (£1.15bn) from the US Department of Justice (DoJ) for violating sanctions on Iran.

The British bank could face the penalty by the end of the year, although final discussions have not yet begun, Bloomberg reported.

The investigation into Standard Chartered’s activities is focused on its sanctions compliance controls with regards to Iran, which has long been a source of difficulties for the emerging markets-focused bank.

Read more: Iranian foreign minister claims country is close to European oil deal

In its half-year report published earlier this year Standard Chartered said authorities are looking into whether “conduct and control failures permitted clients with Iranian interests to conduct transactions through Standard Chartered Bank after 2007 and the extent to which any such failures were shared with relevant US authorities in 2012”.

A Standard Chartered spokesperson declined to comment on the size of any potential penalty.

The spokesperson said: “As previously disclosed, we continue to cooperate fully with the investigation regarding our historical sanctions compliance, and are engaged in ongoing discussions with the US authorities. While we do not comment on the substance of those discussions, we look forward to resolving these legacy issues.”

US authorities have long targeted Iran with sanctions, with a significant hardening in the attitude towards the nation under President Donald Trump, who tore up a deal to loosen sanctions in May.

Read more: The US sanctions against Iran could start a war in European courtrooms

In 2012 Standard Chartered paid the DoJ $667m for violating sanctions rules, according to Thomson Reuters data, as well as signing a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) in which the bank agreed it was responsible for criminal conduct. The DPA was extended in 2014.

The bank had been found in the previous investigation to have helped customers get around the sanctions by changing banking codes, replacing references to sanctioned entities in payment messages, and deleting payment data.

Other banks have previously paid massive fines for US sanctions violations, including $1.9bn for HSBC in 2012 and $1.45bn for Commerzbank in 2015.

Read more: Europe stands ground over US-Iran feud