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Bank accused of Iran plot strikes deal

NY regulator and Standard Chartered settle

New York's financial regulator said Tuesday that his department had reached a $340 million US settlement with Standard Chartered Bank to resolve an investigation into whether the British bank plotted with the Iranian government to launder $250 billion from 2001 to 2007.

The bank will pay the civil penalty to the state and will strengthen oversight of overseas transactions, said New York superintendent of financial services Benjamin Lawsky.

Standard Chartered spokeswoman Julie Gibson said the New York announcement set out the terms of an agreement, including payment of $340 million, and that a formal agreement with details is expected shortly.

"The group continues to engage constructively with the other relevant U.S. authorities," she said.

Standard Chartered will install a monitor for at least two years who will evaluate the money-laundering risk controls of its New York branch and take corrective measures, Lawsky said.

The bank also will permanently install personnel to oversee and audit offshore money-laundering monitoring, the agency said. State agency examiners also will be placed at the bank.

"We will continue to work with our federal and state partners on this matter," Lawsky said.

A department hearing on the issue scheduled for Wednesday in New York City has been adjourned.

The date for the civil payment, which will go to the state's general fund, has not been set, department spokesman David Neustadt said.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance has been investigating the bank, with federal partners, for more than a year.

According to a department order, the bank conspired with Iranian clients to route nearly 60,000 different U.S. dollar payments through Standard Chartered's New York branch "after first stripping information from wire transfer messages used to identify sanctioned countries, individuals and entities."

In a statement on Monday, Standard Chartered Bank said it "strongly rejects" and "contests" the New York regulators' portrayal of its transactions with Iranian banks.