Standard Chartered expected to pay just over $1 billion to resolve US, UK probes

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Anthony Kwan | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Signage for Standard Chartered Plc is displayed outside a bank branch in Hong Kong, China, on Saturday, Feb 16, 2019.

London-based Standard Chartered is expected to pay slightly more than $1 billion to resolve a nearly five-year-old investigation of potential U.S. sanctions violations tied to its banking for Iran-controlled entities in Dubai, as well as a related U.K. probe, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Authorities are aiming for the bank to settle on Tuesday morning, two sources said.

Standard Chartered has been operating under deferred prosecution agreements with U.S. authorities since 2012, when it paid $667 million for illegally moving millions of dollars through the U.S. financial system on behalf of customers in Iran, Sudan, Libya and Burma.

The agreement has been extended numerous times, the last one extended for 10 days and set to expire on Wednesday.

The expected total payout also covers a roughly $134 million penalty from Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority related to historical financial crime controls.

A spokeswoman for Standard Chartered declined to comment.

The U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorney’s office in Washington, the Federal Reserve, the Manhattan District Attorney and the New York Department of Financial Services also declined to comment. The FCA also declined to comment.

The latest U.S. investigation stems in part from evidence found during a probe of French bank BNP Paribas, which paid a record $8.9 billion in penalties and pleaded guilty in 2014 to sanctions-related charges, people familiar with the matter have told Reuters.

Investigators found BNP had done business with a Dubai-registered corporation that acted as a front for an Iranian entity, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters in 2014. Investigators said the company also once had an account with Standard Chartered, the person said.

Standard Chartered said in February it had set aside $900 million related to the potential resolution of violations of U.S. sanctions and foreign exchange trading. That sum also included the FCA penalty.

A resolution of the FCA probe is expected the same time as the U.S. settlements.

Other banks to settle with U.S. authorities over sanctions-related misconduct over the past decade included Societe Generale, Credit Suisse, Lloyds, Barclays and HSBC.

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