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By John Kenchington | Published Aug 07, 2012

FTSE 100 back under 5,800 amid Standard Chartered slump

The FTSE 100 index of the UK’s biggest equities is slightly lower this morning, after Standard Chartered’s shares have slumped 23 per cent on US accusations on Iran.

The FTSE is trading at 5,786 points as at 10.53am, compared to yesterday’s close at 5,808 points.

The index yesterday breached three-month highs on hopes the European Central Bank was set to roll out monetary simulus measures to boost the ailing eurozone economy.

UK bank Standard Chartered’s shares are trading 23.16 per cent lower this morning, on top of a 6.1 per cent slump in the closing minutes of trading yesterday, following accusations by New York financial regulators that the bank concealed transactions for Iranian clients.

The next-biggest FTSE 100 loser is Legal & General Group, which today issued six-month results, with banks RBS, HSBC and Barclays also lower.

The New York state Department of Financial Services (DFS) is threatening to remove Standard Chartered’s banking licence in the state, accusing it of concealing 60,000 transactions totalling $250bn.

“SCB’s actions left the US financial system vulnerable to terrorists, weapons dealers, drug kingpins and corrupt regimes, and deprived law enforcement investigators of crucial information used to track all manner of criminal activity,” the New York DFS said.

Standard Chartered has strongly rejected the claims, insisting it did comply with US sanctions on Iran.

It said that in January 2010 it voluntarily approached US agencies including the DFS to tell them it had launched a review of its transactions and compliance with sanctions.

“The analysis, that the group shared with all the US agencies, demonstrates that throughout the period the group acted to comply, and overwhelmingly did comply, with US sanctions and the regulations relating to U-turn payments,” it said in a statement.

“As we have disclosed to the authorities, well over 99.9 per cent of the transactions relating to Iran complied with the U-turn regulations. The total value of transactions which did not follow the U-turn was under $14m.”

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