A man walks in a branch of the Standard Chartered bank in Hong Kong. Picture: BLOOMBERG/JEROME FAVRE
A man walks in a branch of the Standard Chartered bank in Hong Kong. Picture: BLOOMBERG/JEROME FAVRE

Washington  — London-based Standard Chartered has agreed to pay $1.1bn to US and British authorities for illegal financial transactions involving Iran and other sanctioned countries, several government agencies announced on Tuesday.

A former banker at the Dubai branch pleaded guilty in New York state court in connection with the conspiracy to violate sanctions, US state and federal authorities said.

A former customer of the bank’s Dubai branch also was charged with participating in the conspiracy, according to an indictment unsealed on Tuesday in federal court in Washington, DC.

The agreements resolve an investigation that began about five years ago into Standard Chartered's banking for Iran-controlled entities in the city of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

The bank paid US authorities $667m  in 2012 for illegally moving millions of dollars through the US financial system on behalf of customers in Iran, Sudan, Libya and Myanmar.

In a statement on Tuesday, Standard Chartered said it accepted responsibility for the violations, which stopped after 2014. The bank said it had co-operated with the investigations.

"The circumstances that led to today's resolutions are completely unacceptable and not representative of the Standard Chartered I am proud to lead today," Bill Winters, group chief executive, said in a statement.

The latest penalty is a tally of fines and forfeitures imposed by US department of justice, the US Treasury’s office of foreign assets control, the New York County district attorney’s office, the New York State department of financial services, and Britain's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Standard Chartered agreed to enter into amended deferred prosecution agreements with the US justice department and the Manhattan district attorney for conspiring to violate sanctions and falsifying New York business records. The agreements now run through to April 2021.

The bank had been operating under a deferred prosecution agreement with US authorities since the 2012 settlement.

The agreement has been extended numerous times, most recently for 10 days and set to expire on Wednesday.

Standard Chartered said in February it had set aside $900million for the potential resolution of violations of U.S. sanctions and foreign exchange trading. That sum also included the FCA penalty. 

Reuters