Shares in Standard Chartered Bank plunged 20 per
cent in Hong Kong Tuesday after it was accused of violating US
sanctions against Iran and hiding 250 billion dollars worth of
transactions with Iranian banks.
The share price dropped to 150.60 Hong Kong dollars in afternoon trade before recovering slightly to end the day down 14.89 per cent at 160 Hong Kong dollars.
The crash came despite Standard Chartered "strongly rejecting" allegations by New York state's Department of Financial Services that foreign exchange deals with Iranian banks were systematically hidden.
Company group secretary Annemarie Durbin told the Hong Kong exchange Tuesday that it did not believe the allegations presented a "full and accurate picture of the facts."
She said the bank told the department and other authorities including the US Department of Justice and Office of Foreign Assets Control in January 2010 that it was carrying out a review of US dollar transactions mainly between 2001-07.
The bank's "review of its Iranian payments also did not identify a single payment on behalf of any party that was designated at the time by the US government as a terrorist entity or organisation," she said.
"The analysis, that the group shared with all the US agencies, demonstrates that throughout the period the group acted to comply, and overwhelmingly did comply, with US sanctions and the regulations," Durbin said.
"Standard Chartered ceased all new business with Iranian customers in any currency over five years ago."
The New York Department of Financial Services has called bank executives to a meeting on August 15 to explain why its license to operate should not be revoked.
The financial company is also listed on stock exchanges in London and India.
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