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Standard Chartered Bank Accused Of Helping Fund Terror Activities

An independent expert has identified $9.6bn of foreign exchange transactions with individuals and companies designated by the US government as funding “terror groups”, including Hezbollah, Hamas, al- Qaeda and the Taliban.

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A British based global bank, the Standard Chartered Bank with a subsidiary in Kenya that escaped prosecution for money laundering carried out billions of dollars of transactions for funders of terrorist groups, US court papers allege.

Standard Chartered, one of the UK’s largest banks, avoided prosecution by the US Department of Justice after Lord Cameron’s government intervened on its behalf in 2012.

New documents filed to a New York court claim thou- sands of transactions worth more than $100bn were carried out by the bank from 2008 to 2013 in breach of sanctions against Iran.

An independent expert has identified $9.6bn of foreign exchange transactions with individuals and companies designated by the US government as funding “terror groups”, including Hezbollah, Hamas, al- Qaeda and the Taliban.

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In a statement, the bank said it disputes the whistleblowers’ claims, saying their previous allegations had been “thoroughly discredited” by US authorities.

Standard Chartered was publicly accused of falsifying transaction data on Swift—an international payment system used by thousands of financial institutions—to move billions of dollars through its New York branch on behalf of sanctioned entities such as the Central Bank of Iran.

But in September 2012, George Osborne, then chancellor in Lord Cameron’s government, secretly intervened on the bank’s behalf.

Three months later, the US Department of Justice decided not to prosecute the bank.

The foreign exchange trans- actions identified in the court filings were yet to come to light and it is not suggested that Osborne or Lord Cameron had any knowledge of these trans- actions at the time.

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The bank has twice admitted breaching sanctions against Iran and other countries – first in 2012 and then in 2019 – paying fines totalling more than $1.7bn. But it has not admitted conducting transactions for “terrorist” organisations.

The transactions lay hidden in confidential bank spread- sheets first handed to the US authorities in 2012 by two whistleblowers, including a former Standard Chartered executive, Julian Knight.

They allege US government agencies made false statements to a court in order to have their claim for a whistleblower’s re- ward dismissed.

The US authorities involved in investigating the bank successfully applied to have their case dismissed in 2019. A FBI agent claimed to a court that it showed nothing that “indicated or suggested that the bank had engaged in improper US dollar transactions” after 2007.

US authorities argued the whistleblower’s allegations “did not lead to the discovery of any new … violations” and the court dismissed the case as “meritless”.

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However, independent analysis by an expert with decades of experience with counter- terrorist financing, including at the US Department of Defense and in the private sector, David Scantling, contradicts that.

In a court filing last Friday, he states that the spreadsheets contain records of more than half a million separate transactions between 2008 and 2013 that were “cloaked”, meaning they were not immediately visible in the spreadsheets but could be extracted through a simple technique well-known to analysts in his field.

His declaration says that among the records are numerous transactions by Standard Chartered Bank (SCB), “with or on behalf of Iranian banks, Iranian companies and Middle Eastern money exchanges that, according to [the US government, finance designated foreign terrorist organizations”.

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