Standard Chartered CEO Says No Grounds for Revoking New York Licence

Standard Chartered’s chief executive officer (CEO), Peter Sands, admitted that mistakes were made at the bank for which he was “very sorry” but insisted that a New York regulator’s description of the bank as a rogue institution was unjustified.

In his first public response since Benjamin Lawsky, superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYSDFS), published
allegations
that Standard Chartered laundered US$250bn for Iranian clients, Sands said: “There are lots of matters in that order that we don’t recognise, or we don’t understand, or are fundamentally inaccurate.”

He acknowledged the bank had processed some transactions that were not compliant with US anti-money laundering (AML) rules but said that the total value was in the “tens of millions” rather than the US$250bn claimed. Sands added that he did not believe there was anything wrong with the culture at Standard Chartered. “We are about trying to do the right thing and run a good bank well,” he said.

According to a statement issued by Lawsky on 8 August: “This is a case about Iran, money laundering, and national security. We will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners, both federal and state, in this effort. No bank, big or small, foreign or domestic, is above the law.”

However, Standard Chartered was lent support by the Bank of England’s (BoE) governor, Mervyn King, who suggested that Lawsky was acting out of step with federal regulators in Washington. “One regulator, but not the others, has gone public while the investigation is still going on,” King said at a news conference in London.

“I think all the UK authorities would ask is that the various regulatory bodies that are investigating the particular case try to work together and refrain from making too many public statements until the investigation is completed,” he added.

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