Standard Chartered shares down following Iran allegations

A woman walks past a display board outside a branch of the Standard Chartered Bank in Hong Kong on August 7, 2012.

Jeremy Hobson: The British firm Standard Chartered Bank isn't a bank you'll find on every corner in the United States, even though it processes almost $200 billion worth of global transactions every day. But it could soon have its banking license revoked in the nation's financial center, because of allegations that the bank has been hiding tens of thousands of secret transactions with Iran.

The BBC's Karen Hoggan has been covering this story and she joins us from London to discuss. Good morning.

Karen Hoggan: Good morning.

Hobson: So what exactly is being alleged here?

Hoggan: What’s alleged is Standard Charted illegally hid transactions with Iran. And it seems ultimately what they are accused of doing is removing a code – a sequence of numbers – attached to certain transactions which would identified the fact that they were to do with Iran. This is clearly against New York State rules – absolutely for sure. If they are found to be guilty they could potentially have their banking license revoked.

Hobson: If they were removing a code that certain seems like they were trying to hide something. What are they saying about this?

Hoggan: Well, they absolutely deny these allegations. So they are going to be defending themselves vigorously.

Hobson: And I see the bank’s share is down significantly this morning.

Hoggan: Yes, certainly at the start of trade in London down by 15 percent, they fell by 7.5 percent overnight in Hong Kong. So you know, this is clearly having a very damaging affect on them, you know, reputationally. This certainly is coming after a series of bad publicity; real flak sticking to banks including of course, HSBC accused of money laundering and also of course, Barclays with the so called LIBOR scandal, the rate rigging scandal.

Hobson: The BBC’s Karen Hagen in London. Thank you so much.

Hoggan: Thank you.

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