Compliance failures cost Standard Chartered $300m

Hong Kong Financial District

The UK’s Standard Chartered bank has been fined $300m by US authorities, just two years after the same regulators issued fines of $340 for breaking sanctions with Iran.

The New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) announced yesterday that Standard Chartered had failed to check transactions sufficiently for evidence of money laundering. It also placed restrictions on the bank that prevent it offering dollar clearing services through its New York Branch to high risk Hong Kong clients.

The compliance breaches were discovered during a review by the NYDFS monitor, which was put in place as part of the remedial action taken in 2012. It found that Standard Chartered had failed to detect a large number of potentially high-risk transactions for further investigation, with many of these coming from its Hong Kong subsidiary.

Superintendent Lawsky said: “If a bank fails to live up to its commitments, there should be consequences. That is particularly true in an area as serious as anti-money-laundering compliance, which is vital to helping prevent terrorism and vile human rights abuses.”

In addition to shouldering the hefty fine, Standard Chartered will be subject to two years’ further monitoring and will be unable to open a US Dollar demand deposit account for any new customer without the approval of the NYDFS.