People walk outside the main branch of the Standard Chartered Bank in Hong Kong
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Standard Chartered 'has to open its books'

Global bank Standard Chartered has been accused of scheming with Iran to illegally launder as much as $250bn (£161m).

The US regulator, the New York state department of financial services, says the bank hid 60,000 secret transactions for financial institutions in Iran that were subject to US economic sanctions.

Standard Chartered said it strongly rejects the position and portrayal of facts made by the US authorities.

In a statement, the global lender said it had ceased all new businesses with Iranian customers in any currency over five years ago. Although the bank has its headquarters in the UK, two-thirds of its profits come from operations in Asia.

The BBC's Rico Hizon asked Penelope Lepeudry, managing director at Kroll Advisory Solutions, about the significance of the allegations.

  • 07 Aug 2012