US investigating RBS over Iran sanctions

Royal Bank of Scotland Group, Britain’s biggest taxpayer-owned lender, is being investigated by the Federal Reserve and Justice Department for potentially violating sanctions against Iran.

The investigation was triggered after the bank disclosed information to the US authorities following a review of the business chief executive Stephen Hester started after he joined the Edinburgh-based bank in 2008, according to sources, who asked not to be identified because the probe isn’t public.

Ulster Bank owner, RBS opened “discussions with UK and US authorities to discuss its historical compliance with applicable laws and regulations, including US economic sanctions,” the bank said in a filing earlier in August that didn’t mention the regulators or Iran. “Although the group cannot currently determine when the review of its operations will be completed or what the outcome of its discussions with UK and US authorities will be, the investigation costs, remediation required or liability incurred could have a material adverse effect.”

Standard Chartered Plc paid $340million (€272m) this month to New York’s Department of Financial Services to settle claims it helped Iran launder about $250bn in violation of federal laws. Regulators are investigating four European banks, including Deutsche Bank AG, for alleged violations involving oil trading and Iran, an attorney with knowledge of the matter said earlier this month.

Commerzbank AG said in 2010 that it was co-operating with US authorities on an investigation of transactions involving Iran. Germany’s second-biggest bank said at the time that it couldn’t asses the outcome of the investigation or how much it might cost.

— Bloomberg


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