Standard Chartered allegations may destroy its reputation in one blow
Aug 7 2012 1:03PM GMT
US regulators' accusations over Iran transactions could fell a firm that dodged Libor fallout and the worst of the credit crisis
"Simply the best, better than all the rest," was one analyst's verdict on Standard Chartered last week, reflecting the sense that the bank is different from any other listed in London.
A focus on Asia and Africa allowed Standard Chartered to breeze through the credit crisis. Nor were there any nasty allegations of Libor-rigging or money laundering.
So being accused by New York regulators of being a "rogue institution" that illegally hid $250bn of Iranian transactions over a decade could destroy Standard Chartered's reputation in one blow.
It is claimed that Standard Chartered's New York branch was given the brush-off when it warned the London head office that the bank could be exposing itself to criminal charges.
If even half the allegations are proved, boardroom resignations would have to follow. Peter Sands, chief executive, and Richard Meddings, finance director, need to give their version of events very soon.
Monday's feeble holding statement suggests the bank is entirely unprepared for the storm now breaking.