U.S. extends scrutiny of Standard Chartered on sanctions compliance

Tue Dec 9, 2014 6:09pm EST
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By Karen Freifeld and Aruna Viswanatha

(Reuters) - Standard Chartered (STAN.L: Quote) will face another three years of scrutiny by U.S. prosecutors for compliance with government sanctions against certain countries, according to documents filed on Tuesday that also noted another probe of the bank is underway.

The original deferred prosecution agreements, struck with the U.S. Justice Department and the Manhattan district attorney over the bank's violations related to U.S. sanctions on Iran and other countries, was due to expire on Wednesday.

The agreement to extend the deals means that the bank will face enhanced oversight for a longer period of time and could be hit with harsher penalties.

The deferred prosecutions could be pulled back in the next three years and criminal charges against the bank could be filed, said Joan Vollero, a spokeswoman for the Manhattan district attorney.

In a statement, the bank said it agreed to the extension and would work with authorities to reach the standard required.

The U.S. amendment said the bank had taken steps to improve its compliance program and had hired new leadership and staff in its legal and financial crime compliance offices.

The Justice Department said it sought the extension in part because it had obtained information about "possible historical violations" of U.S. sanctions laws that took place after 2007.

It said it needed more time to investigate whether the violations occurred and whether they were willful.   Continued...

People queue up outside a Standard Chartered Bank branch before operation hours at the central business district in Singapore January 23, 2014. REUTERS/Edgar Su