StanChart agrees extension of US sanctions scrutiny

StanChart said its US deferred prosecution agreements will now end at the same time as the independent monitor’s oversight on July 28, 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 10 November 2017

StanChart agrees extension of US sanctions scrutiny

LONDON: Standard Chartered said it faces a further extension of its US deferred prosecution agreements (DPAs) until July next year, in a sign it has yet to improve its sanctions compliance to the satisfaction of US authorities.
StanChart first entered into the agreements with the US Department of Justice and the New York County District Attorney’s Office in December 2012, accepting that it had broken laws by processing payments for sanctioned entities in countries including Iran, Burma, Sudan and Libya.
The bank avoided prosecution in exchange for a cash settlement of $327 million (SR1.22 billion) and an agreement with the US authorities to improve its sanctions compliance.
The DPAs were extended for a further three years in 2014, as StanChart sought to strengthen its controls under the scrutiny of an independent monitor tasked with reporting on its progress.
Reuters reported in September the likely extension of the bank’s US supervision, as sources at the bank said upgrading its technology worldwide to meet stringent US standards was proving a daunting task.
The monitor appointed to oversee StanChart’s settlement, Ellen Zimiles, global head of investigations at Navigant Consulting Inc. and a former prosecutor, has tested the software used by the bank and found that the bank’s processes missed millions of possible violations.
StanChart said on Thursday its DPA will now end at the same time as the independent monitor’s oversight on July 28, 2018.
“The agreement acknowledges that the Group has taken a number of steps and made significant progress to comply with the requirements of the DPA and enhance its sanctions compliance program, but that the program has not yet reached the standard required by the DPA,” it said.
In a deferred prosecution agreement a prosecutor agrees to grant amnesty in exchange for the defendant agreeing to fulfill certain requirements, and StanChart could face prosecution and further fines if it reoffends.
The bank is also being investigated over whether it continued to violate Iran-related sanctions after 2007, in violation of the deferred prosecution agreements between the bank and US state and federal prosecutors.
Thursday’s statement from the bank said it continues to cooperate with that investigation, but that more time is needed.
StanChart says it now spends more than a billion dollars a year on compliance, up more than 40 percent from 2014.

Nissan chairman Ghosn arrested, to be dismissed by company

Updated 19 November 2018

Nissan chairman Ghosn arrested, to be dismissed by company

TOKYO: Nissan Motor Co.’s high-flying chairman Carlos Ghosn is to be dismissed after the company said an internal investigation found he under-reported his income and engaged in other “significant misconduct.”

The Japanese broadcaster NHK said Ghosn was arrested Monday after he voluntarily submitted to questioning by Tokyo prosecutors.

The Yokohama-based company, one of the world’s largest automakers, said the violations were discovered during an investigation over several months that was instigated by a whistleblower. Ghosn, 64, also allegedly engaged in personal use of company assets, it said.

Nissan said it was providing information to the prosecutors and cooperating with their investigation. The allegations also concern a Nissan representative director, Greg Kelly, it said.

Nissan’s CEO Hiroto Saikawa planned to propose to its board that Ghosn and Kelly both be removed from their posts, the company said in a statement.

“Nissan deeply apologizes for causing great concern to our shareholders and stakeholders. We will continue our work to identify our governance and compliance issues, and to take appropriate measures,” it said.

The Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi group is among the biggest auto alliances in the world, selling about 10 million vehicles a year. Before joining Renault, Ghosn worked for Michelin North America.

Shares in Renault SA of France plunged 14 percent early Monday. The news of Ghosn’s troubles broke after Japanese markets had closed for the day.

The allegations are a serious blow at a time when Nissan and Mitsubishi Motor Co. are still overcoming scandals over their quality testing reporting.

Ghosn is credited with helping engineer a remarkable turnaround at Nissan over the past two decades, resuscitating the Japanese automaker from near bankruptcy after he was sent in by Renault.

He served as Nissan’s chief executive from 2001 until April 2017, becoming chief executive of Renault in 2005, leading the two major automakers simultaneously. In 2016, Ghosn became Mitsubishi Motors’ chairman.

For the past two decades, he has maintained an unusually high profile in a nation where foreign chief executives of major Japanese companies are still relatively rare.

Ghosn has appeared on magazine covers dressed in kimono, vowing to renew the Nissan brand. He was widely praised in Japanese industry circles for delivering sorely needed cost cuts and introducing greater efficiency at a time when Nissan needed a fresh start.