Italian bank UniCredit is the latest to be swept up by US money laundering probes into banks’ dealings with Iran, it has emerged.
The bank confirmed yesterday that its German operation, HVB, has been co-operating with the New York county district attorney, the Department of Justice and the US Treasury.
The Milan-based operator added that HVB had been conducting a broader review of its historic compliance with sanctions against Iran on its own initiative.
Unicredit, which bought HVB in 2005, is one of a string of non-US banks to be targeted. Standard Chartered earlier this month paid £217m to settle claims that it concealed $250bn of transactions with Iran and operated as a ‘rogue institution.’
It at first protested its innocence and tried to defend itself by suggesting the US was conducting a vendetta against UK banks in order to promote Wall Street at the City’s expense.
Other British banks caught up in the investigations include HSBC, which earmarked £450m last month to cover fines and penalties and is in talks over a settlement with US regulators.
RBS is also under investigation. And Barclays paid £190m in fines to the US in 2010 for violating sanctions through hundreds of millions of dollars of transactions with Iran, Cuba, Libya and other regimes.
But several non-British institutions have also come under scrutiny as well as UniCredit, undermining suggestions that the US actions are motivated by a desire to torpedo London as a financial centre.
Germany’s Commerzbank warned it may have to pay a large sum to settle an investigation into its violations. Deutsche Bank has refused to comment on reports it is also being probed.
By CITY & FINANCE REPORTER
Posted By INONU AKGUN ALP to AML-CFT
at 8/27/2012 12:21:00 AM