London Bankers Think The Attack On Standard Chartered Is An Attack On Their Entire Existence

2012 London Olympic Opening Ceremony

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Employees in London’s financial centre have risen up en masse to protest charges leveled against Standard Chartered Bank that it facilitated and disguised transactions to Iranian banks, the FT’s Patrick Jenkins reports. “This is an attack,” a “senior City figure” tells Jenkins. “If we don’t stand up to it, it could be catastrophic for London’s financial standing. There has to be some stage where Number 10 or the Treasury says something in defence of the banks.” Another unidentified City employee says: “Political intervention may be needed over this.”

Jenkins apparently surveyed a swath of City officials for comment, and many told him Benjamin Lawsky, superintendent of New York state’s DFS, was guilty of “freelancing” – “going it alone in escalating an investigation into StanChart that had also involved several other agencies.”

One compared Lawsky’s report to a John Grisham novel, Jenkins writes. 

The FT’s Andrew Hill also wrote today that,

“The sense of shock in London about the allegations leveled against Standard Chartered goes well beyond the stock market where – as of mid-morning on Tuesday – the shares were down by nearly a quarter. The group is virtually the only large UK bank not to have suffered serious reputational damage over the past five years.”

Earlier, Standard Chartered released a statement “strongly rejecting” the charges. 

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