The Two-Way
8:39 am
Tue August 7, 2012

British Bank Denies Laundering Iranian Money; Say It's Not A 'Rogue Institution'

  • Steve Inskeep speaks with Jim Zarroli on 'Morning Edition'

As its stock tumbled today following word that New York State regulators have labeled it a "rogue institution" that allegedly hid about 60,000 secret transactions involving $250 billion in Iranian funds, Britain's Standard Chartered Bank strongly denied the accusations.

It "rejects the position or portrayal of facts as set out in the order," the bank said.

As NPR's Jim Zarroli said on Morning Edition, New York State's Department of Financial Services on Monday said that Standard Chartered had "for almost 10 years ... schemed with the government of Iran and hid from regulators roughly 60,000 secret transactions, involving at least $250 billion." The actions, from January 2001 through 2007, happened at a time when Iranian financial institutions were "subject to U.S. economic sanctions," the regulators noted.

The bank, however, "said the order issued by the US regulator did not present 'a full and accurate picture of the facts,' " the BBC reports. According to the BBC:

"It said that it had conducted a review of its transactions, primarily those relating to Iran for the period between 2001 to 2007, and had given regular updates to the US authorities on the results of the investigation.

" 'As we have disclosed to the authorities, well over 99.9% of the transactions relating to Iran complied with U-turn regulations,' the bank said.

" 'The total value of transactions which did not follow the U-turn was under $14m.'

"The so-called U-turn transactions are those started outside the US by non-Iranian foreign banks that pass through the U.S. financial system on the way to other non-Iranian foreign banks."

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