Standard Chartered fined $300m for money laundering failures

Standard Chartered faces a further $300m fine and additional repercussions over its continuing failure to comply with anti-money laundering measures.

The New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) has also forced the bank to suspend its dollar clearing for high-risk retail business clients at its Hong Kong subsidiary, and exit high-risk client relationships within certain business lines in its UAE branches, following its failure to remediate anti-money laundering compliance problems as required in a 2012 settlement.

Standard Chartered’s compliance failures were first unveiled in August 2012, when the NYDFS’ independent monitor revealed that the bank had failed to detect a large number of potentially high-risk transactions worth $250bn, including money laundering on the behalf of Iran.

After issuing a $340m fine and instructing that the bank be monitored for two years, the regulator issued a statement describing it as a “rogue organisation” with an “evident zeal to make hundreds of millions of dollars at any cost”.

It also included an extract from one of the 30,000 documents reviewed, in which the bank’s group executive director was quoted as saying: “You f**king Americans. Who are you to tell us, the rest of the world, that we’re not going to deal with Iranians?”

As a further result of its failure to improve its anti-money laundering controls, the bank has been prohibited from accepting new dollar-clearing clients or accounts across its operations without prior regulatory approval.

Superintendent of Financial Services, Benjamin Lawsky, said: “If a bank fails to live up to its commitments, there should be consequences.

“That is particularly true in an area as serious as anti-money-laundering compliance, which is vital to helping prevent terrorism and vile human rights abuse.”

It comes the day after the US regulator fined PwC $25m and banned it from accepting consulting engagements for two years for abetting the falsification of data within a regulatory report at the Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi.

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