Standard Chartered Shares in Volatile Hong Kong Trade

By webadmin on 12:11 pm Aug 08, 2012
Category Archive

The Hong Kong-listed shares of banking giant Standard Chartered rose more than two percent in volatile trade Wednesday, after the bank was accused by US regulators of illicit dealings with Iran.

The stock opened 1.3 percent lower at HK$156, a day after losing nearly 15 percent and HK$67 billion ($8.6 billion) was wiped off the firm’s market capitalization. The broader Hang Seng Index rose 0.58 percent.

But it bounced back strongly as the morning progressed and was up 2.06 percent at HK$163.4 at one point before easing slightly to HK$160.3 by 0325 GMT.

The shares slumped 16.8 percent in London trade on Tuesday.

The British lender — which focuses on Asia, the Middle East and Africa — has denied allegations that it hid $250 billion in deals with Iranian banks for almost a decade in violation of US sanctions.

The New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) on Monday accused the bank of systematically disguising foreign exchange deals with Iran that potentially opened the US banking system to terrorists and criminals.

The transactions mainly involved US dollar transfers for state-owned Iranian banks, including the central bank, that fell under US controls aimed at undermining Tehran’s alleged nuclear weapons program.

The activity “left the US financial system vulnerable to terrorists, weapons dealers, drug kingpins and corrupt regimes”, the DFS said.

Standard Chartered has been ordered to appear on August 15 to explain the “apparent violations of law” and demonstrate why its licence to operate in New York should not be revoked.

The bank said Tuesday it “strongly” rejected the claim, and planned to contest the regulator’s allegations.

The controversy has not affected the bank’s ratings, with both Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s saying nothing concrete yet had happened to reduce the bank’s creditworthiness.

Agence France-Presse