Standard Chartered at centre of Zimbabwe sanctions inquiry
Sunday 15 June 2008
Standard Chartered bank is under fire for allegedly breaching EU sanctions on Zimbabwe. The Foreign Office admitted it is investigating one case of a possible breach of the sanctions.
Internal Foreign Office emails seen by The Independent on Sunday reveal that officials were concerned about the bank's activities. "I'd say Standard Chartered is my prime concern," says one email. "I've not asked them whether they've made any of these loan payments, but there's a good chance that they may have been forced to do so by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe."
Officials say that if a sanctions-busting case is proven "we will take appropriate action. We are determined to see that EU sanctions are properly enforced."
The Liberal Democrat chief whip, Norman Lamb, has tabled parliamentary questions asking if allegations of sanctions busting by Standard Chartered were being investigated. Mr Lamb has asked the Foreign Office how many investigations are taking place and for documents relating to the bank's involvement. He has also asked if the EU has complained about British banks in Zimbabwe.
Standard Chartered is one of three British-based groups to have provided an estimated $1bn (£500m) in direct and indirect funding to Robert Mugabe's administration. The influential newsletter Africa Confidential says that Standard, together with Barclays and the insurance firm Old Mutual, continue to provide an economic lifeline to the regime.
Barclays was accused last November of providing loans to senior members of Mr Mugabe's government running farms grabbed by mobs organised by his Zanu-PF party. Many of the farms, previously white-owned, were distributed to leading figures in the regime rather than to landless black Zimbabweans.
According to the Foreign Office emails, Barclays insists it has not breached sanctions. It told officials these didn't apply because the loans were made by Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe which, while majority-owned by the London-based group, was incorporated in Zimbabwe.
The 24 branches of Standard Chartered Bank in Zimbabwe are not believed to be incorporated locally but are subsidiaries of the London-based bank, which insists it complies with all sanction regulations.
- 1 Cyclist in Russia narrowly misses being hit by car and lorry
- 2 'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 3 What are your fingerprint words?
- 4 Gary Lineker involved in Twitter row after presenter rubbishes claims he will be warned by BBC over foul-mouthed tweets
- 5 Pink Floyd new album: Band unveil cover art for first record in 20 years
Rihanna 'nude pictures' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
Slough train station deaths: Woman and child killed after being 'pushed in front of train'
Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
Jennifer Lawrence: Leaked 4Chan sex video branded 'fake' by users
Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
iJobs Money & Business
£65000 Per Annum Benefits + bonus: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: If you are...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40000: SThree: As a Recruitment Consultant, y...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...