SCB settles foreign sanctions charges

Dec. 10, 2012 at 5:21 PM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 10 (UPI) -- The U.S. Treasury Department said Monday it has settled sanctions violations by Standard Chartered Bank for $132 million.

Offices of the bank in London and Dubai from 2001 to 2007 engaged in "payment practices that interfered with the implementation of U.S. economic sanctions by financial institutions in the United States, including SCB's New York branch," the Treasury Department said.

The agreement is part of a $327 million settlement that involves various local and federal government regulators. The $132 million closes out an investigation into the sanctions violations by the Office of Foreign Assets Control.

The charges included sanctions violations involving Iran, Burma, Libya and Sudan, and "transactions related to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Sanctions Regulations," the department said.

The violations included scrubbing illicit financial activities clean by replacing names of customers on payment messages "with special characters, effectively obscuring the true originator and sanctioned party in the transaction," the department said in a release.

"Today's settlement is the result of an exhaustive interagency investigation into Standard Chartered Bank's attempts to violate U.S. sanctions programs through the 'stripping' from payment messages of critical information," said OFAC Director Adam Szubin.

"We remain committed to working with our partners in the regulatory and law enforcement community to ensure that the U.S. financial system is protected from the risks associated with this type of illicit financial behavior."

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