The UK Standard Chartered Bank has paid a fine of $340 (£200m) to one US regulator for a persistent period of undisclosed trading which has been linked to businesses in Iran. That country is subject to some controversial economic and business sanctions from the international community led by the United States.
The complicated business situation for ‘universal global banks’ is also complicated by the convention to have most financial transactions denominated in US dollars and so, subject to US law and financial licensing. Difficult territory in a country where Iran is persistently a hot topic for discussion.
The story touches once more upon the problems of global business and national jurisdictions and the conflict between them. These issues have been much in evidence since the start of the global recession, the revelations about the insolvency of the finance houses and afterwards, of their associated governments.
The latest and most serious example of this surrounds the admissions around misdeclaration of Libor (the London InterBank Offered Rate) which governs the terms on which banks make daily loans to one another. Barclays has already admitted doing this but others are involved. As regulators in the US and elsewhere turn their minds to this you’ll see the legal consequences of this are story are huge and truly global.