Boris Johnson has accused American regulators of “protectionism” and being “motivated by jealousy” of the City after Standard Chartered was branded as a “rogue institution”. The Mayor of London said he suspected the New York state regulator’s accusations were driven by a “simple desire to knock a rival centre” and were an example of the US being “high-handed in her treatment of other nations”.
Using his column in The Spectator to launch a robust counter-attack, Mr Johnson referred to a comment allegedly made by a Standard Chartered executive at the heart of the affair: “‘You f—— Americans. Who are you to tell us, the rest of the world, that we can’t deal with the Iranians?”
The US regulator said the quote showed an “obvious contempt for US banking regulations” . But Mr Johnson wrote: “I disapprove of the language . But I have to say — and I speak as the proud possessor of an American passport — that there seems to be something fine and sound about the underlying sentiment.”
He added: “You can’t help wondering whether all this beating up of British banks and bankers is starting to shade into protectionism; and you can’t help thinking it might actually be at least partly motivated by jealousy of London’s financial sector — a simple desire to knock a rival.”