Standard Chartered accused of funding Hamas and enabling billions of dollars of transactions for Iran

Standard Chartered was yesterday facing fresh allegations that it enabled billions of dollars of banking transactions for Iran as well as terror groups including Hamas.

The claims contained in US court documents were described as ‘fabricated’ by the lender.

But they come after Standard Chartered previously paid huge fines to settle claims of poor money-laundering controls and sanctions breaches.

Now, whistleblowers are attempting to reopen a case against the London-based, Asia-focused bank with what they claim is newly uncovered evidence.

Standard Chartered avoided a US prosecution in 2012 after the Government – and then Chancellor George Osborne – intervened on its behalf.

New allegations: Standard Chartered avoided a US prosecution in 2012 after the UK government – and then Chancellor George Osborne – intervened on its behalf

But the whistleblowers now accuse the US government of committing a ‘colossal fraud’ on the court in New York over the thoroughness of its probe into alleged sanctions violations in 2012 and 2013.

In a court document filed last week, based on re-examination of documents, they claim that Standard Chartered ‘facilitated many billions of dollars in banking transactions for Iran, numerous international terror groups, and the front companies for those groups’. 

It names Hamas, Hezbollah, the Taliban and al-Qaeda among the groups involved. The whistleblowers, filing the claim under the name Brutus Trading, said they have identified £77billion worth of transactions between the bank and Iranian-related clients.

‘With the assistance of forensic data analysis, Brutus was only recently able to reveal or “decloak” countless illegal transactions that were hidden deep in the bank’s electronic spreadsheets, which Brutus gave to the government,’ the document revealed.

They are seeking to reverse the previous dismissal of their claims and revive the lawsuit. But Standard Chartered said it was ‘another attempt to use fabricated claims, following previous unsuccessful attempts’. 

A bank spokesman said: ‘The false allegations underpinning it have been thoroughly discredited by the US authorities who undertook a comprehensive investigation into the claims and said they were “meritless” and did not show any violations of US sanctions.’

In 2019, Standard Chartered agreed to pay more than £800million to UK and US authorities over financial transactions that violated sanctions against Iran.

Some of the violations occurred after the bank settled similar charges in 2012 when it had paid US authorities more than £400million for illegally moving money through the US financial system on behalf of clients in Iran, Sudan, Libya and Myanmar.