Victims’ relatives claim British bank conspired to hide assets, as they try to enforce $2.6bn judgment against Iran
Victims’ relatives have filed a lawsuit seeking to hold Standard Chartered and its New York branch accountable in connection with a bombing of US marines in Lebanon in 1983.
The families are seeking to trace assets as they try to enforce a $2.6bn (£1.7bn) judgment against Iran. They claim that the British bank conspired with Iran and its agents to hide Iran’s assets from them.
A federal court in Washington DC issued the award in 2007 after Iran failed to contest claims it was involved in the bombing, which killed 241 servicemen at a marines facility in Beirut.
The lawsuit in a district court in Manhattan says the bank’s “success in building a massive business clearing US dollar transactions on behalf of Iranian financial institutions was a result of concerted efforts to evade US sanctions against Iran”. It says the bank’s executives “continued year after year to process the illicit Iranian transactions in order to pad” the bank’s profits.
A Standard Chartered spokeswoman, Julie Gibson, said the bank did not comment on pending litigation.
This week the bank reached a $340m settlement with New York’s financial regulator to resolve an investigation into whether it schemed with the Iranian government to launder money. The deal subjects the bank’s New York branch to two years of monitoring.
Standard Chartered said on Monday that it strongly rejected the regulator’s portrayal of its transactions with Iranian banks. It said “well over 99.9%” of the questioned transactions with Iran complied with all regulations, and the few transactions that did not amounted to $14m. It said none of its Iranian payments were on behalf of any designated terrorist group.