U.S. and state regulators are trying to set ground rules for negotiating with Standard Chartered Bank, accused of hiding money for Iran, insiders say.
The U.S. Treasury and Justice departments, the Federal Reserve, and Manhattan district attorney's office are to reach an understanding with the New York State Department of Financial Services over how to approach negotiations with the British bank, the sources told The Wall Street Journal Thursday.
British officials, meanwhile, defended Standard Chartered over charges that it broke New York state banking rules in a decade-long scheme to hide financial dealings with Iran.
The New York Financial Service Department said a New York branch of Standard Chartered hid from regulators about 60,000 secret transactions involving at least $250 billion for nearly 10 years.
The bank has called the state's claims "factually inaccurate."
Federal regulators have been investigating Standard Chartered's business with Iran since 2009, but the New York agency issued an order this week alleging the New York branch conducted the illegal transactions and the bank was involved in a decade-long cover-up.
Discussions among U.S. regulators are in the early stages, and negotiators are trying to find common ground before Aug. 15, when Standard Chartered is to appear at a hearing before the New York department, the sources said.
Among other things, the New York regulator threatened to yank the bank's New York state banking license.