Executives at Standard Chartered may "strongly" deny they laundered $250 billion of Iranian government cash since 2001, but it seems they're still willing to cut a check to make the bad headlines go away. As The Associated Press' Michael Virtanen reports, the British bank will pay a civil penalty of $350 million to the state of New York and "install a monitor for at least two years who will evaluate the money-laundering risk controls of its New York branch and take corrective measures." Legally speaking, it appears this brings an end to a story that, as The Atlantic Wire's Adam Martin put it, had everything: " International intrigue, alleged high-level financial crime, and swearing." (On the cursing front, the New York's financial regulator quoted a Standard Chartered executive saying "You f---ing Americans. Who are you to tell us, the rest of the world, that we're not going to deal with Iranians.") The bank did not immediately issue a statement but on Monday it said it "strongly rejects" and "contests" regulators' accusations about its transactions with Iranian bankers.
We can't say what made the bank pay up, but it could have something to do with reports last week that it risked losing its license to operate in New York. As it stands, Standard Chartered will be able to operate under the gimlet eye of the New York State Department of Financial Services, which will place examiners at the bank during its probation period.