RBS fined $133 mn for violating US sanctions against Iran, other countries

Royal Bank of Scotland has been fined $133 million for violation of US sanctions against Iran, Myanmar, Sudan and Cuba.

According to the US Treasury, the bank had systematically tried to hide the payments involving Iranian clients between 2005 and 2009, breaking US prohibitions on deals with Iranian financial institutions.

RBS had blanked out references to the Iranian institutions from payment messages in a bid to conceal the identity of the parties involved from US authorities.

According to US authorities, the British lender adopted the same tactics with payments involving three other countries, in violation of US sanctions at the time.

The Federal Reserve and financial regulator of New York state, levied fines of $50 million each, while the Treasury levied a $33 million fine.

RBS however, would pay only $100 million, as the Treasury said its part ''will be deemed  satisfied'' by the payment of the Fed portion.

Adam Szubin, director of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control said the action demonstrated its continuing efforts to aggressively enforce US sanctions laws against Iran and other sanctioned parties.

RBS said in a statement that it "acknowledges and deeply regrets (its) failings".

The lender pointed out however, that authorities at the US justice department and the district attorney of New York had both closed related investigations and would not be bringing charges.

Some allegations date to 2009, a year following the bailing out of the bank with taxpayers' funds.

The settlement comes as the sixth round of fines the state-owned bank has had to pay this year after other penalties for involvement in rate-rigging.

The latest announcement comes as another setback to the bank after the surprise exit of finance director Nathan Bostock, who had taken up the post on 1 October.

RBS also had an IT failure last week that left customers unable to use debit or credit cards in addition to other problems.

The $100 million settlement hit the bank in quick succession to a record fine for another misselling scandal.

The lender was forced to pay £28 million for "serious failings" in a bonus scheme for sales staff.