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Business Comment

James Ashton: Sands' stand was a price worth paying

Outlook A banking boss I talked to over the weekend was admiring Peter Sands' stand against allegations that his bank, Standard Chartered, had handled transactions from Iran in breach of American sanctions.

Instead of staying mum, Mr Sands jetted back from holiday in Canada and hit the phones to refute claims from New York regulator Ben Lawsky. This week he has been in New York attempting to clear his name.

Few bankers have been prepared to put their head above the parapet on any issue – and with good reason. Bob Diamond tried, calling on bankers to be "good citizens" in the months before the Libor-rigging scandal blew up.

But fears Mr Sands' stand could have annoyed regulators and resulted in higher fine, nearer to $800m, proved unfounded. Considering £5bn was wiped from Standard Chartered's stock market value in hours after Mr Lawsky went public, $340m looks like a small price to pay for getting back on the front foot.