Standard Chartered says 2012 net profit flat at $4.79 bn

Standard Chartered on Tuesday posted net profit of US$4.79 billion for 2012 after the British lender was hit with a multi-million-dollar fine over a US sanctions probe.

The figure compared to a $4.75 billion net profit in 2011, the London-based but Asia-focused lender said in a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange. Pre-tax profit rose one percent to $6.9 billion.

The bank said although income rose eight percent to $19.07 billion, profit was hit by the $667 million it was forced to pay US authorities last year to settle charges it violated US sanctions covering Iran and three other countries.

"The $667 million settlements dented our profit growth and damaged our reputation," group chief executive Peter Sands said in a statement.

US authorities said last year the bank had stripped messages on financial transfers routed through US banks of information that would show the beneficiaries were businesses and entities that fell under US sanctions.

US authorities are pushing harder on the banking sector to fall in line with its sanctions, especially on Iran as it seeks to pressure Tehran to give up its controversial nuclear programme.