Barclays said in a federal court filing on Monday
that staff falsified documents to facilitate
circumvention of US trade sanctions.
agreed to pay $298m to US authorities to settle
investigations relating to payments that the bank
facilitated to countries facing government
sanctions, including Cuba, Libya, Iran, Sudan
filing said Barclays "accepts and acknowledges
responsibility for its conduct and that of its
employees." US officials said the bank altered
payment messages or deleted information about
sanctioned countries. In other cases, Barclays
returned payments out of fear they would be
discovered by US officials, sending fax cover sheets
that said: "Payments to U.S.A. must NOT contain
the word listed below." Prosecutors said
payments often were re-sent after the reference to
the sanctioned country was omitted.
Prosecutors also said that in an internal manual,
Barclays included instructions for processing
payments to the US from foreign banks to avoid
detection. Payments going to the New York branch
were filtered before they left Britain to prevent
"the seizure of funds in the USA," according to
an employee email cited in a federal-court filing.
one email referenced by prosecutors, an employee
wrote about how to avoid detection:
"A good example is Cuba which the US says we
shouldn't do business with but we do."
Obama Administration is currently beefing up its
sanctions regime against Iran and last May, ABN Amro
agreed a $500m fine to settle claims that it helped
Iran, Libya, Sudan and Cuba evade US sanctions by
"stripping" the identities of transactions to
conceal the countries from which they originated.
Last December, Credit Suisse paid $536m for
sanctions busting and in early 2009, a subsidiary of
the UK's Lloyds Banking Group paid $350m also
relating to circumvention of sanctions.
week, Stuart Levey, the Under Secretary for
Terrorism and Financial Intelligence within the
United States Department of the Treasury, is
visiting is financial centres in Lebanon, Bahrain
and the United Arab Emirates - - all three countries
host subsidiaries of Iranian banks - - to win
support or warn of the penalties for defying US
sanctions against Iran.
Levey said in the Financial Times on Monday that the
latest round of measures also sharpens the focus on
another sector that is a critical lifeline for
Iran’s proliferation and evasion: shipping. He said
some of Iran’s most dangerous cargo continues to
come and go from Iran’s ports, "so we must redouble our vigilance
over both their domestic shipping lines, and
attempts to use third-country shippers and freight
forwarders for illicit cargo."