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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A federal judge ended a two-year-old case against Barclays involving its dealings with sanctioned countries, closing one investigative chapter against the bank even as it faces multiple continuing inquires.
In an order filed on Monday and entered into the docket on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan granted a request to dismiss charges the U.S. filed against the bank in August 2010.
At the time, Barclays agreed to forfeit $298 million and enter a deferred prosecution agreement to resolve charges that it processed transactions for customers in Cuba, Iran, Sudan and other countries subject to U.S. economic sanctions.
Under such an agreement, the Justice Department agrees to dismiss the case after several years if the defendant abides by the terms of the deal.
In a Washington hearing when the settlement was originally filed, Sullivan decried it as a "sweetheart deal" and questioned whether it amounted to a fine if the bank only paid back the money involved.
Federal and state prosecutors have since entered into several other agreements with big banks to resolve sanctions violations.
Most recently, Standard Chartered agreed to pay $340 million to settle allegations involving Iran with New York's banking regulator. The bank is expected to enter into a similar agreement with federal authorities and local prosecutors in the coming weeks.
Barclays, meanwhile, in October disclosed new U.S. regulatory investigations into whether it violated a foreign bribery law through its relationships with third parties who help it win or retain business.
In June it also agreed to pay $450 million to resolve charges that it tried to manipulate the Libor interest rate benchmark.
A Barclays representative could not be immediately reached for comment outside of normal UK business hours.
Reporting by Aruna Viswanatha; Editing by Richard Chang