Standard Chartered Bank plc has fallen foul with the United States government and is set to pay US$18 million in fines for violating sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by America.
Standard Chartered allegedly handled 1,795 transactions worth close to US$77 million for state-owned firms and sanctioned individuals.
In a notice issued on Tuesday, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said:
Separately, between May 2009 and July 2013, SCB Zimbabwe processed transactions to or through the United States involving Zimbabwe-related Specially Designated Nationals (SDNs) or entities owned 50 per cent or more, individually or in the aggregate, by one or more Zimbabwe-related SDNs.
These transactions constituted apparent violations of the Zimbabwe Sanctions Regulations (ZSR), 31 C.F.R. Part 541. SCB will remit $18,016,283 to OFAC to settle civil liability relating to the apparent violations of the ZSR
… the designated and/or blocked persons maintained account relationships with SCB’s affiliate in Zimbabwe, and engaged in funds transfer or debit/credit card transactions whose net settlement transfers were sent to, and processed by SCB NY or other U.S. financial institutions.
SCB NY processed 1,795 transactions totalling $76,795,414, for or on behalf, or that otherwise contained a property interest, of those sanctioned entities.
Standard Chartered released a statement in which it accepted the charges. It said:
… accepts full responsibility for the violations and control deficiencies outlined in the resolution documents, the vast majority of which predated 2012 and none of which occurred after 2014.