British bank Standard Chartered will pay the United States $327 million to settle charges it violated US sanctions on Iran, Myanmar, Libya and Sudan, the US Treasury announced today.

US authorities said the bank had stripped messages on financial transfers routed through US banks of information that would show the beneficiaries were businesses and entities that fell under US sanctions.

The fines from the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and other US federal and local regulators took to $667 million in total the bank has been charged for sanctions violations.

In August the New York state banking watchdog fined Standard Chartered $340 million in the same investigation, saying it hid 60,000 transactions with proscribed Iranian clients worth $250 billion over 10 years.

“Today’s settlement is the result of an exhaustive interagency investigation into Standard Chartered Bank’s attempts to violate US sanctions programmes through the ’stripping’ from payment messages of critical information,” said OFAC Director Adam Szubin in a statement.

The sanctions avoidance involved mainly the bank’s London head office and its branch in Dubai, which masked the details of messages so US authorities would not see the real identity of those sending and receiving the payments.

“As a result, millions of dollars of payments were routed through US banks for or on behalf of sanctioned parties in apparent violation of US sanctions,” the OFAC said in a statement.

The OFAC added that the settlement also covered eight apparent violations of US sanctions on drug lords.

(This article was published on December 10, 2012)
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