Standard Chartered, regulators in settlement talks

Standard Chartered is in talks with multiple law-enforcement officials, including New York's banking regulator, to resolve a probe into improper Iranian money transactions by the British bank, according to people familiar with the situation.

The settlement negotiations are expected to last through the weekend and could result in a resolution by next week, these people said. The negotiations are at a delicate stage and could collapse, they added.

The negotiations come after a rancorous week that began when Benjamin Lawsky, superintendent of the New York Department of Financial Services, alleged in an order on Monday that the bank processed thousands of illegal transactions tied to Iran and that Standard Chartered had covered up its actions using incomplete or false records.

Lawsky demanded that Standard Chartered officials appear at his office next Wednesday to explain why the bank should be allowed to keep doing business in New York, a global hub for the processing of dollars. The hearing remained on the calendar as of Friday afternoon.

Lawsky's order not only shocked the bank but also federal and local regulators. The bank had been cooperating in a months-long probe and subsequent settlement talks with federal and local regulators.

The U.S. Justice Department, Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Manhattan District Attorney's office had been engaged in those talks.

[Source: By Carrick Mollenkamp, Reuters, 10Aug12]

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