October 30, 2014 / 12:48 AM / 3 years ago

U.S. prosecutors reopen probes against several big banks: NYT

A man walking past a foot bridge leading to the Standard Chartered main branch is reflected on a window glass in Hong Kong March 5, 2013.Bobby Yip

(Reuters) - U.S. prosecutors are reopening investigations into big banks on suspicion they may have violated agreements under which the institutions settled prior cases against them, The New York Times reported, citing lawyers briefed with the matter.

With the settlements, the banks avoided criminal prosecution and instead paid fines and implemented reforms. Among the banks named in the report were Standard Chartered Plc (STAN.L) and Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ [MTFGTU.UL].

In its Dealbook column, the newspaper said prosecutors in Washington and New York reopened an investigation into Standard Chartered that in 2012 settled allegations it funneled billions of dollars for Iran and other nations blacklisted by the United States.

"The prosecutors are questioning whether Standard Chartered, which has a large operation in New York, failed to disclose the extent of its wrongdoing to the government, imperiling the bank’s earlier settlement," the newspaper said.

New York's banking regulator has also reopened a 2013 settlement with the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ [MTFGTU.UL] over allegations that the bank's New York branch did business with Iran, it reported, saying the bank is suspected of downplaying the scope of its wrongdoing.

The regulator "is negotiating a new settlement deal with the bank that, if finalized, would involve a penalty larger than the $250 million it paid last year."

Consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, which advised the Japanese bank on the case, has also come under investigation, according to lawyers, the report said.

Standard Chartered Plc, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ could not be reached out for comment outside the regular working hours.

Reporting by Anjali Rao Koppala in Bangalore; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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