The administration of Britain's Standard Chartered Bank has been accused of violating U.S. laws this week. The bank allegedly concealed illegal operations with Iranian financial institutions in circumvention of U.S. sanctions against Tehran. How can one accuse a non-US company of violating U.S. law? It can be possible due to the use of dollars in settlements.
In early 2012, the U.S. imposed sanctions on Iran. Penalties are imposed on financial organizations in case they make transactions with the central bank of Iran, through which the Islamic republic, following best traditions of Western financial empires, sells its most important raw material - oil. This fact, by the way, is the best confirmation of the subordination of Ahmadinejad's regime to Western financial institutions.
All the banks that were accused of collaboration with Iran have the British ancestry. In June, the Dutch bank ING admitted to a violation of the sanctions against Iran and agreed to pay a huge fine to the U.S. authorities - $600 million - for violating the sanctions against Iran. The penalty became the largest in the history of violation of sanctions.
The U.S. Justice Department refers to the alleged transfer of the bank in the total amount of $ 1.6 billion. ING also conducted financial transactions with Cuba, which was also on the black lists. The bank acknowledged the violations similarly the three financial institutions that had been accused of violating the sanctions regime. The bank chose not to get in trouble with the U.S. government and paid a huge fine instead.
Barclays PLC agreed to pay 453 million dollars too, after the investigation of U.S. and British authorities showed that the bank had fabricated the standard of crediting. A month later, the U.S. Senate took up the British HSBC Holding, which was allegedly engaged in operations on the territory of Mexico (which can be referred to as a US-controlled territory) and served Mexican drug traffickers.
Last week, the list of European, although rather British banks, that were caught in informal transactions with the Iranian government was added with another one - Standard Chartered. The bank has already agreed to pay 304 million dollars in fines to the Government of the State of New York.
For nearly a decade the bank had "schemed" with Iran's government to move nearly $250 billion through its New York branch, leaving the "US financial system vulnerable to terrorists, weapons dealers, drug kingpins and corrupt regimes," the head of the Department of Financial Services of the state, Benjamin Lawski said.
But how can the financial department of New York accuse a bank that operates outside the U.S. of violating U.S. laws? Actually, nothing like that is written in U.S. laws. However, the current exemption law system in the U.S. allows to prosecute anyone and for anything, if there is a similar judgment.
As a result, a trend has been formed over the years of jurisprudence, according to which the fact of cash flow through a financial center like New York is considered sufficient for establishing legal jurisdiction over various transactions.
"Even if a transaction is done, say, in Japanese yen, if a blip in the system turns these into dollars - however briefly - that in theory could mean it falls under US law," says David Pitofsky, a member of law firm Goodwin Procter.
New York City is the primary dollar center of the world's financial system. The city is a transit point for the majority of transactions, including those, to which the United States is not related at all.
Curiously, the Department of Financial Services of the State of New York that accused the British bank Standard Chartered of laundering $250 billion, was established only 10 months ago, the BBC said. However, it currently supervises immense financial flows, which is quite surprising. The organization controls about 4,500 organizations, whose total assets are evaluated at $6.2 trillion.
It is not the first time when the USA uses the dollar control to demonstrate the possibilities of its own judicial system. Moreover, it happens in the affairs that are formally not linked with the United States. For example, in 2010, the U.S. Justice Department accused the German company Daimler, which owns Mercedes-Benz, of bribing officials in 22 countries, including Russia.
Daimler admitted guilt and preferred to pay off. The Germans paid the U.S. government $185 million in fines. However, the German company did not bribe US officials, nor did it violate US laws. Interestingly enough, Germany's biggest bank - Deutsche Bank - is now suspected of conducting transactions with Iran. One is left to wonder whether the Germans prefer to pay off this time, and how much they will pay ...
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