A British bank has agreed to settle charges that it illegally laundered Iranian money. The settlement with Standard Chartered was announced by New York banking regulators, who'd brought the charges just a week ago. The bank still is under investigation by the federal government. NPR's Jim Zarroli has more.
Originally published on Tue August 14, 2012 3:27 pm
Britain's fifth-largest bank has agreed to pay $340 million to settle charges by New York regulators that it laundered money for Iranian clients.
NPR's Chris Arnold filed this report for our Newscast unit:
"In court documents, the regulator alleged that for 10 years Standard Chartered Bank quote 'schemed with the Government of Iran and hid from regulators roughly 60,000 secret transactions... involving $250 billion dollars and reaping hundreds of millions of dollars in fees for the bank.'
The allegations this week against London-based Standard Chartered Bank raise questions, not just about the bank's viability but also about the efficacy of U.S. laws when it comes to foreign banks. Standard Chartered allegedly violated U.S. sanctions against Iran, and regulators said the bank's executives lied to investigators as part of a cover-up.
The case serves as yet another reminder that U.S. regulations, which have strengthened since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, apparently did not deter foreign banks from laundering money through their U.S. operations.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has acknowledged that he had money in a Swiss bank account until 2010. Romney says he wasn't trying to hide the money, since he reported the account to the government.
Even so, he closed the account at a time when the federal government was in the middle of a major crackdown on offshore tax havens — a crackdown that has made it harder for Americans to hide their money overseas.