(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
No agreement is perfect but the settlement that was reached Tuesday afternoon with the New York Department of Financial Services over Standard Charter Bank’s illicit money laundering with Iran and other countries under sanctions was better than most. In particular, SBC’s admission that the “the conduct at issue involved transactions of at least $250 billion.” The fine of $340 million was larger than the $250 million SBC offered but smaller than either the $700 million to $1 billion that SBC might have had to pay if the case had gone to a hearing on Wednesday and large because of the multi-billion dollar transaction admission. So the agreement is being touted as a victory for Benjamin M. Lawsky and his 10-month old agency, the New York Department of Financial Services which took on the bank without the Federal agencies who have been negotiating with SBC.
STATEMENT FROM BENJAMIN M. LAWSKY, SUPERINTENDENT OF FINANCIAL SERVICES, REGARDING STANDARD CHARTERED BANK
Benjamin M. Lawsky, New York Superintendent of Financial Services, issued the following statement today.
“The New York State Department of Financial Services (“DFS”) and Standard Chartered Bank (“Bank”) have reached an agreement to settle the matters raised in the DFS Order dated August 6, 2012. The parties have agreed that the conduct at issue involved transactions of at least $250 billion.
“The settlement also includes the following terms:
- The Bank shall pay a civil penalty of $340 million to the New York State Department of Financial Services.
- The Bank shall install a monitor for a term of at least two years who will report directly to DFS and who will evaluate the money-laundering risk controls in the New York branch and implementation of appropriate corrective measures. In addition, DFS examiners shall be placed on site at the Bank.
- The Bank shall permanently install personnel within its New York branch to oversee and audit any offshore money-laundering due diligence and monitoring undertaken by the Bank.
“The hearing scheduled for August 15, 2012 is adjourned.
“We will continue to work with our federal and state partners on this matter.”
This settlement is only with the New York regulator and it includes the transfers with Libya, Mynmar and the Sudan.
While this could have been better, Mr. Lawsky did get the bank to concede that the transfer did indeed involve the $250 billion which resulted in a larger settlement. SBC still must deal with the federal regulators based on the concession with NYDF. As David Dayen at FDL sees it this put a whole new slant on those talks:
In addition, this does not end the legal trouble for Standard Chartered. This only resolves the issues with the New York Department of Financial Services. Federal regulators (including Treasury, the Federal Reserve and the Justice Department) as well as the Manhattan District Attorney must now enter into their negotiations, and if they cannot get as much as the DFS, it will be completely embarrassing. This could cost Standard Chartered at least double this initial figure.
Meanwhile over at the SEC, Wells Fargo walks away from mortgage investment case with a $6.5 million fine and no admission of wrongdoing as usual. Wells Fargo earned $16 billion last year.
The Securities and Exchange Commission has spent nearly four years building cases against the nation’s biggest banks for their role in the mortgage mess.The agency has filed civil actions against Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup.
But in recent months, the agency has struggled to bring big cases as it pursued a second round of investigations focused on the banks’ failure to disclose the dangers of mortgage securities. The Wells Fargo case comes just days after Goldman Sachs revealed that the S.E.C. had closed an investigation into a 2006 mortgage deal without pursuing charges. [..]
The action also cited Shawn McMurtry, a former vice president and broker at the bank, over his role in selling the deals. Under the settlement, Mr. McMurtry agreed to a $25,000 fine and six-month suspension from the securities industry.
I’m sure Mr. McMurtry can afford it.