Hong Kong (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Standard Chartered
shares rebounded on Wednesday, following yesterday's losses after New York
state regulators accused the British bank of illegal transactions with Iran. Yesterday,
shares slumped 16.8 per cent on because of the charges. Today, they regained 2
per cent in Hong Kong and 6 per cent in London during morning trading.
The New York State Department of Financial Services
said the UK-based bank systematically concealed US$ 250 billion in financial
transactions with Iranian banks between 2001 and 2010, hiding some 60,000 such
The DFS accuses the Standard Chartered of falsifying
payment directions by stripping the message of unwanted data that showed the
clients were Iranian, replacing it with false entries.
The banks is said to have codified their illegal
procedures in a formal operating manual showing what to do when Iran was involved.
The UK bank thus "operated as a rogue
institution," leaving the US banking system vulnerable to "terrorists and
The United States had imposed an embargo on transactions
with Iranian banks because of sanctions and Iran's involvement with terrorism.
StanChart could be fined US$ 700 million and have its banking
licence revoked in state of New York, the only place in the United States where
The British lender, which does business mostly in Asia,
the Middle East and Africa, rejected the accusations saying that "well over
99.9% of the transactions relating to Iran complied" with regulations and that total
value of transactions that did not follow the rules "was under $14million."
Some analysts allege that the case is part of the war
among banks are waging to eliminate dangerous competitors.
In the past, other banks have found themselves charged
with the same breach, including HSBC, Barclays, Lloyd's, and Credit Suisse, and
settled the matter by paying a hefty fine.
Others point out that Iran embargo is full of holes
even in the United States. The New York
Times reported that nearly 10,000 exemption licences were granted to
companies both large and small, including General Electric, Kraft Foods, Pepsi
and Wrigley, ostensibly for humanitarian reasons.
But the products sold or exported include, cigarettes,
Wrigley's gum, Louisiana hot sauce, weight-loss remedies, body-building
supplements and sports equipment and even pop corn.