Cheap at half the price? Standard Chartered pays up

Standard Chartered's offices in the City of London Photo: Press Association

In the last hour, the New York authorities who accused the British bank, Standard Chartered, of laundering hundreds of millions of dollars for Iran, has announced that the bank has agreed to pay them a fine of $340 million, some £216 million pounds.

The bank strongly rejected accusations that it was a 'rogue' institution and had systemically pushed money Iranian cash through the United States, so why on earth has it agreed to cough up?

Despite denying the bulk of the accusations, Standard Chartered did own up to 14 million dollar worth of errors that did break American sanctions on dealing with Iran.

Even a tiny partial admission of guilt meant that they were on the back foot.

And given that the bank's share price suffered one of the most serious drops on the FTSE in recent memory when the accusations were made, fighting the claims in court could have dragged the process on for many months, damaging the bank's reputation day after day after day.

The bank is still in negotiations with other American regulators over its past behaviour but this will at least bring this particular embarrassing episode to an end.

Standard Chartered is yet to make any comment tonight.

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