British bank accused of hiding billion-dollar Iran deals

By Orlando Radice, August 7, 2012

Standard Chartered may lose its licence to do business in the US after a report by New York regulators alleged that the British bank hid more than £160bn in illegal Iranian transactions.

The report by the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) includes a shocking retort by a Standard Chartered representative to a US colleague who warned him about dealing with Iran. “You f***king Americans. Who are you to tell us, the rest of the world, that we’re not going to deal with the Iranians,” the executive is alleged to have said.

According to the DFS, Standard Chartered “schemed” with the Iranians to hide more than 60,000 Iranian transactions over ten years.

The New York regulator, headed by former federal prosecutor Benjamin Lawsky, ordered Standard Chartered to explain why the bank’s licence should not be revoked. If the allegations are proven, the bank may lose its ability to trade in the US, which would be a crippling blow.

Mr Lawsky also ordered the bank to bring in an outside consultant to monitor its transactions.

Standard Chartered said the bank “does not believe the order issued by the DFS presents a full and accurate picture of the facts.”

Last updated: 12:03pm, August 7 2012