Standard Chartered faces new US money-laundering probe

HONG KONG - Standard Chartered confirmed Wednesday that it faces fresh US fines over alleged breaches in its anti-money laundering systems, two years after it paid massive penalties for violating American sanctions.

Media reports said the probe by New York's financial regulator followed allegations that the London-based, Hong Kong-listed lender failed to spot millions of risky transactions flowing through its US operations.

The bank said it was bracing to pay fines following the new investigation.

"Certain issues have been identified with respect to the group's post-transaction surveillance system, which is part of its anti-money laundering systems and controls and is separate from the group's sanctions screening systems," the bank said in a filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

"The group is engaged in discussions with New York State Department of Financial Services... with respect to those issues and their ongoing remediation." Standard Chartered said a "monetary penalty and remedial actions" would likely follow the investigation.

In December 2012, Standard Chartered agreed to pay US authorities US$327 million to settle charges it violated American sanctions, principally on Iran but also on Myanmar, Libya and Sudan.

Four months earlier the New York state banking watchdog had fined the bank US$340 million in the same investigation, saying it hid 60,000 transactions with proscribed Iranian clients worth US$250 billion over 10 years.

US authorities said the bank had stripped messages on financial transfers routed through US banks of information that would show the beneficiaries were businesses and entities that fell under American sanctions.