Standard Chartered fights back

Bank chief blasts 'factually inaccurate material' behind US claims of laundering

Standard Chartered chief executive Peter Sands staged a robust defence of his bank yesterday in his first public comments on the controversy over its dealings with Iran since rushing back early from his summer holiday.

Responding to accusations that the bank defied US sanctions on Iran by laundering as much as $250bn (£161bn) of Iranian money between 2001 and 2007, Mr Sands cast doubt on the integrity of New York's State Department of Financial Services by refuting many of the facts surrounding the allegations and criticising the manner of their disclosure.

"Frankly, there is a lot of material here that we do not recognise or understand, or that is factually inaccurate," he said in a hastily convened press conference late yesterday afternoon.

Mr Sands went on to dismiss an already-infamous allegation in the New York regulator's 27-page report of its case against the bank – that a senior Standard Chartered executive gave short and colourful shrift to a warning from a US colleague of potential problems in dealing with Iran.

On hearing the warning, the executive – whom Mr Sands confirmed yesterday to be his number two, finance director Richard Meddings – allegedly retorted: "You fucking Americans. Who are you to tell us, the rest of the world, that we're not going to deal with Iranians?"

However, Mr Sands used the same phrase to deny the allegation twice yesterday: "We do not believe the quote is accurate," he said. Mr Sands declined to say whether he or his team recognised the warning that the New York regulator claimed sparked Mr Meddings' alleged retort.

Friends and colleagues of Mr Meddings said such language would be highly out of character for the relatively mild-mannered executive. Mr Sands also criticised the regulator for claiming Standard Chartered made "several hundreds of millions of dollars" in fees between 2001 and 2007 from so-called U-turn transactions when the actual amount was "in the tens of millions".

Before they were outlawed in 2008, U-turns allowed US-based banks to process some highly-scrutinised dollar-denominated transactions for Iranian banks or individuals provided that a bank that was neither American or Iranian acted as intermediary on both sides of the deal.

The US government eventually scrapped U-turns on fears that Iran was using its banks to finance nuclear weapons and missiles programmes.

Mr Sands reiterated yesterday that more than 99.9 per cent of the $250bn worth of U-turn transactions the regulator highlighted complied wit regulations governing them, leaving less than $14m that didn't.

He also criticised the regulator for giving the bank no prior notice of its order, the publication of which, he said, "came as a complete surprise to us".

Mr Sands conceded that the episode, which knocked more than £8bn off its value as shares fell by more than a quarter in just two days on Monday and Tuesday, had knocked Standard Chartered badly.

"Clearly this has been very damaging and it would be unrealistic to pretend otherwise…. It's obviously a very serious and difficult set of issues that we've been facing."

"I don't think there is anything wrong with the culture at Standard Chartered…We take our responsibilities very seriously, always seeking to comply with rules and regulations."

Bank shares climb: Bargain-hunters to the rescue after a mauling

Shares in Standard Chartered yesterday clawed back some of the steep losses they had made since the money-laundering allegations surfaced from US regulator Benjamin Lawsky on Monday.

They closed up 87p, or 7 per cent, at 1315.5p as bargain-hunters decided the 22 per cent rout was overdone. Buyers were encouraged by a flurry of analysts' claims that the shares now represented good value.

The bank run by Peter Sands had until now dodged the worst damage of the global financial crisis. Analysts pointed out that even in the event of a massive fine and a loss of its banking licence in the US, the bank would still be a valuable takeover target for rival JPMorgan.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
Lucerne’s Hotel Château Gütsch, one of the lots in our Homeless Veterans appeal charity auction
charity appeal
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France
tv
News
people

Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

Sport
Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe (left) is congratulated by winning penalty taker Miguel Llera (right)
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
tvReview: But which contestants got the boot?
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
News
i100
Travel
Tourists bask in the sun beneath the skyscrapers of Dubai
travelBritish embassy uses social media campaign to issue travel advice for festive holiday-makers in UAE
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Jennifer Saunders stars as Miss Windsor, Dennis's hysterical French teacher
filmJennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Nabil Bentaleb (centre) celebrates putting Tottenham ahead
footballTottenham 4 Newcastle 0: Spurs fans dreaming of Wembley final after dominant win
Voices
Jimmy Mubenga died after being restrained on an aircraft by G4S escorts
voicesJonathan Cox: Tragedy of Jimmy Mubenga highlights lack of dignity shown to migrants
Life and Style
Sebastian Siemiatkowski is the 33-year-old co-founder and CEO of Klarna, which provides a simple way for people to buy things online
tech
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Java Developer - Hertfordshire - £47,000 + bonus + benefits

£40000 - £470000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Devel...

Ashdown Group: Direct Marketing Manager - B2C, Financial Services - Slough

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: An exciting opportunity h...

Carlton Senior Appointments: Sr Wealth Manager - San Francisco - Inv AdvisoryFirm

$125 - $175 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: Senior Wealth Manager – In...

Carlton Senior Appointments: Private Banking Manager - Intl Bank - Los Angeles

$200 - $350 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: Managing Producer – Office...

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum