Standard Chartered eyes wider Iran settlement by year end

Tue Oct 30, 2012 5:08am EDT
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By Kelvin Soh and Matt Scuffham

HONG KONG/LONDON (Reuters) - Standard Chartered (STAN.L: Quote) said it was aiming for a wider year-end settlement with U.S. authorities investigating its Iran-linked transactions.

The Asia-focused bank, on track for a tenth straight year of record earnings, agreed in August to pay New York's banking regulator $340 million to settle allegations it hid some $250 billion worth of transactions with Iran.

But other probes, including a criminal investigation, are still going on.

"We're in active and constructive dialogue with all of the other agencies. We hope to get that finished and completed by the year end but it's not wholly in our power to do that," Finance Director Richard Meddings said.

Standard Chartered, which is negotiating with the Manhattan District Attorney, the U.S. Treasury Department, the Justice Department and the New York Federal Reserve, said last month it could not predict the outcome or quantify potential liabilities.

The bank said on Tuesday its operating profit grew by a mid-single digit rate in the first nine months of the year.

Earnings would have risen by at least 10 percent but for the settlement York regulators who threatened to strip the bank of its state licence over its Iranian deals.

"Although the environment remains turbulent, we are in the right markets and continue to see good momentum across our businesses and geographies," CEO Peter Sands wrote in a third-quarter trading update on Tuesday.   Continued...

Employees of Standard Chartered leave a branch of the bank in central Seoul August 9, 2012. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won