A British bank that violated Iran sanctions will pay over $1 billion in fines and penalties.
Earlier this week, U.K. media reported that the London-based Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) reached a settlement with American and British regulators after being accused of conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA).
SCB agreed to a forfeiture of $240 million and a fine of $480 million. The bank will also pay $477 million to Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
While SCB’s infractions involved several countries, the bulk of them seemed to involve Iran. According to the Justice Department, the bank processed approximately 9,500 financial transactions worth roughly $240 million through U.S. financial institutions for the benefit of Iranian entities.
Truth be told, SCB has a long history of sanction-breaking habits. In 2004, it signed a “Written Agreement” with the Federal Reserve and New York regulator which specified changes it must make to its procedures to comply with anti-money laundering laws. But SCB did not change its ways. A cease and desist order issued by the Federal Reserve in 2012 details how SBC continued its dubious lending and financing practices for years in deliberate attempts to circumvent various U.S. sanctions. If one company was gonna be caught for breaking the administration’s rules on Iran, it would be SCB.
But the case does serve as a staunch warning to firms all over the world. Indeed, the SCB incident is the latest milestone in the American sanctions at work. First of all, it demonstrates that the American sanctions do have teeth. If a company attempts to violate them, the Trump administration will actively pursue the organization. The second point worth noting is that SCB isn’t even an American company. The fact that a British business was forced to pay these massive fines shows both the reach of U.S. policy and the willingness of allies to cooperate with the administration.