LONDON/NEW YORK — Standard Chartered is pursuing a collective settlement with other US authorities after agreeing to pay $340 million to New York’s financial regulator under mounting pressure from shareholders.
The bank said it made a “pragmatic decision” to settle after having seen its share price slump by more than 30 per cent at one stage last week, following accusations that it concealed Iran-linked transactions worth a total of $250 billion. The transactions were at the centre of a fresh legal challenge on Wednesday when the estates of victims of the 1983 bombing of US Marine barracks sued the bank. The suit claimed the transactions were part of Iran’s efforts to avoid judgements against it over the bombing.
With the New York settlement agreed, subject to formalities, the bank’s US lawyers at Sullivan & Cromwell will look to accelerate talks with other US agencies to enable Standard Chartered to draw a line under an episode that has caused lasting damage to its reputation.
“Negotiations are going on between the other agencies, and we are talking to them. It is safe to assume we are now seeking a collective agreement with the other agencies,” a spokesman for the bank said on Wednesday, declining to put a time frame on the process.
The spokesman had earlier said a collective deal with the other agencies was likely. Subsequently he said this was not the case, only that a collective agreement was the outcome the bank was seeking.
Having cut short a family vacation in Canada last week, Chief Executive Peter Sands is now pushing for a comprehensive deal that removes lingering uncertainty. The bank is still the subject of probes by the US Treasury, the Federal Reserve, the Justice Department and New York prosecutors. — Reuters