Iran: was the bank scheming?
The New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) accused Standard Chartered earlier this week of a series of transgressions dating back to 1995, including having ‘schemed with the government of Iran and hid from regulators roughly 60,000 secret transactions, involving at least $250bn and reaping Standard Chartered hundreds of millions of dollars in fees.’
Facing massive fines
Although the allegations do not constitute a formal civil or criminal proceeding, according to The Am Law Daily, Standard Chartered could face a multi-million dollar fine or lose its New York banking licence. New York-based Sullivan & Cromwell will represent the bank in the US, with the team headed by senior chairman H. Rodgin Cohen, while Slaughter and May has secured instructions to advise in the UK.
Both firms have advised Standard Chartered before, and Slaughter and May is one of the six international firms currently sitting on the bank’s legal panel.
Recently, other major law firms have secured instructions regarding a series of banking scandals. Clifford Chance is advising both Barclays and the Royal Bank of Scotland over the Libor rate-rigging saga, which has also seen fellow magic circle player Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and US firm Morrison & Foerster gain significant advisory roles.
According to Legal Week, Standard Chartered has denied any wrongdoing, arguing that the DFS has not presented ‘a full and accurate picture of the facts.’ The bank claims to have approached relevant US agencies in 2010 regarding its transactions in Iran, and that only a minute percentage -- to the value of no more than $14m -- of those dealings failed to comply with US regulations.