By William McQuillen
August 16, 2010
agreed to pay $298 million to settle claims it violated trade laws by facilitating transactions involving banks from countries under U.S. sanctions.
Under a deferred-prosecution agreement filed today in federal court in Washington, the London-based bank agreed to pay $149 million to the U.S. and another $149 million to New York state.
Barclays was accused of violating U.S. financial sanctions against Cuba, Iran, Libya, Sudan and Burma from about March 1995 through September 2006. Barclays followed the directions of banks in those countries to omit their names in payment messages sent to the New York branch and to other financial institutions, according to court papers.
In addition, Barclays amended payment messages to remove information identifying links to the sanctioned companies, prosecutors said.
Barclays said in February it is being investigated by the U.K. Financial Services Authority over payments involving people or countries under U.K. Treasury sanctions. The bank disclosed the Justice Department probe in 2007.
“Barclays accepts and acknowledges responsibility for its conduct and that of its employees,” according to the deferred prosecution agreement filed with the court today. The accord requires the bank to voluntarily cooperate with investigators for two years, and then the criminal charges will be dismissed.
The company confirmed in a statement it is seeking court approval for the deferred prosecution for payments made between Jan. 2000 and July 2007, though Americas Barclays Capital spokesman declined further comment.
Earlier this month, the company said it had put aside 194 million pounds ($307 million) for the settlement.
The British lender has been conducting an internal review and reporting the results to authorities including the U.S. Department of Justice, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control “in relation to the possible resolution of this matter,” the bank said in a statement.
, and eight other banks were investigated by the U.S. for processing payments that allowed Iran and other sanctioned nations to gain access to U.S. markets. Credit Suisse and Lloyds settled with state and federal authorities in the U.S. last year.
The case is U.S. v. Barclays Bank Plc, 10cr218, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).