Standard Chartered reaches $340 million settlement over Iran

Tue Aug 14, 2012 7:47pm EDT
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By Karen Freifeld and Carrick Mollenkamp

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Standard Chartered Plc will pay $340 million to New York's bank regulator over transactions linked to Iran, in a speedily arranged deal likely to cheer its shareholders.

The deal with New York Superintendent of Financial Services Benjamin Lawsky still left the British bank facing a separate probe of Iran-linked transactions by other U.S. authorities.

The deal on Tuesday capped a week of transatlantic tension and a furor over why a state agency had upstaged the other authorities.

The resolution also averted a hearing on Wednesday at which the bank had been called to demonstrate why its license to do business in New York should not be revoked.

Ian Gordon, an analyst at Investec Securities in London, said that the risk of further regulatory costs "appear sufficiently contained" to allow the bank's shares to build on a rally from their lows after Lawsky brought his case last week.

"Standard Chartered's management team have conducted themselves admirably in the face of extreme provocation," Gordon said.

The bank's shares rose 2.74 percent to close at 1,370 pence on Tuesday, before Lawsky's announcement.

Lawsky on August 6 called Standard Chartered a "rogue institution" that had broken U.S. sanctions on Iran, saying it hid Iran-linked transactions with a total value of $250 billion from regulators.   Continued...

A woman walks past a Standard Chartered bank in London October 13, 2010. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth