Standard Chartered chairman Sir John Peace has apologised and withdrew his comment regarding the bank’s breaches on Iran sanctions after the US regulators forced him to issue an apology over his appalling remark that the breaches occurred due to “clerical errors” and insisted that the breaking of the rules was not a “willful act”. Standard Chartered was forced to issue a formal stock market statement on Thursday by US regulators, which in total fined Standard Chartered £415m and reached deferred prosecution agreements with the bank to avoid further sanctions.
In the letter signed by Sir John Peace, the chairman said that during the bank’s full-year results press conference, “I made certain statements that I very much regret and that were at best inaccurate.” Standard Chartered chairman made a faux paus when asked by the US department of justice about bonuses for executives at the bank. “We had no willful act to avoid sanctions; you know, mistakes are made – clerical errors – and we talked about last year a number of transactions which clearly were clerical errors or mistakes that were made”, was his appalling reply.
The chairman of the bank which had admitted to the breaches last year, some of which involved Iran, and was fined $667m (£439m) by US regulators in a settlement, had to take back his statement saying, “My statement that Standard Chartered ‘had no willful act to avoid sanctions’ was wrong, and directly contradicts Standard Chartered’s acceptance of responsibility in the deferred prosecution agreement and accompanying factual statement.”
It may be noted that Standard Chartered’s sanctions violations date from between 2001 and 2007, and involved transactions with Iran, Burma and other countries subject to US sanctions.