August 14, 2012

Standard Chartered's Chief Executive Peter Sands has flown to New York to take personal control of the bank's attempts to reach a settlement with U.S. regulators over allegations it hid transactions involving Iran.

Sands is also ready to attend a hearing set for Wednesday at which the London-based bank has been told by the New York banking regulator that it must demonstrate why its state banking license should not be revoked over the transactions.

A Standard Chartered spokesman said the bank was waiting to hear from the Department of Financial Services (DFS) what form the hearing will take.

"Peter is happy to go if that's appropriate," a Standard Chartered spokesman said on Tuesday.

Sands will work with the bank's lawyers, who are attempting to negotiate a settlement over the issue with U.S. authorities, the spokesman said.

Last week, New York's Financial Services Superintendent Benjamin Lawsky alleged the bank had hidden Iran-linked transactions with a total value of $250 billion and called it a "rogue institution" for breaking U.S. sanctions.

Though Sands has long known that U.S. regulators were looking into Standard Chartered's Iranian dealings, he had been confident the bank would escape the kind of regulatory scandals that have hit British rivals HSBC and Barclays .

"This is very different to some of the things you've been hearing about elsewhere," he had told reporters after the bank's first half results were published on Aug. 1.

Just days later, the 50-year-old was taken by "complete surprise" by the ferocity of Lawsky's attack, which he described as "disproportionate", and cut short his vacation to mount a swift defense. He denied the allegations and said the value of transactions that failed to adhere to the sanctions was less than $14 million.

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