Reportedly, Standard Chartered, a British bank, is facing a fine amounting to as much as $1.5 billion (£1.15 billion) from the Department of Justice (DoJ) of the United States of America because of violating the sanctions on Iran.
Bloomberg reported that the bank would likely face the penalty by the end of 2018, even though the final talks have not yet started.
The investigation into the activities of Standard Chartered is centred on its sanctions compliance controls when it comes to Iran, which has long been a cause of challenges for the emerging markets-focused bank.
In the half-year report that it published earlier this year, Standard Chartered disclosed that authorities are examining whether “conduct and control failures permitted clients with Iranian interests to conduct transactions through Standard Chartered Bank after 2007 and the extent to which any such failures were shared with relevant US authorities in 2012.”
A spokesperson for Standard Chartered turned down requests for comment regarding the size of any possible penalty.
The spokesperson stated: “As previously disclosed, we continue to cooperate fully with the investigation regarding our historical sanctions compliance, and are engaged in ongoing discussions with the US authorities. While we do not comment on the substance of those discussions, we look forward to resolving these legacy issues.”
Authorities in the United States have long targeted Iran with sanctions, with a notable hardening in the attitude towards the country under the administration of President Donald Trump, who tore up a deal to loosen up the sanctions last May.
According to Thomson Reuters data, $667 million was paid by Standard Chartered to the DoJ for violating sanctions rules in 2012, as well as signing a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) in which the bank accepted that it was responsible for criminal conduct. The DPA was then extended in 2014.
The bank had been exposed in the previous investigation to have helped the customers get around the sanctions by switching banking codes, replacing the references to sanctioned entities in payment messages, and deleting payment information.
Previously, other banks have paid huge fines for violations of US sanctions, including $1.9 billion for HSBC in 2012 and $1.45 billion for Commerzbank in 2015.