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Bank boss says sorry for 'wrong' Iran comments

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Standard Chartered Bank chairman Sir John Peace on Thursday apologised for claiming that the emerging markets lender had no "willful" intention to violate US sanctions on Iran, and retracted what he described as "inaccurate" comments that were made earlier this month.

US authorities had last year fined Asia-focused SCB $667 million (517 million euros) to settle charges it had breached sanctions with Iran.

"My statement (given on March 5) that SCB 'had no willful act to avoid sanctions' was wrong, and directly contradicts SCB's acceptance of responsibility in the deferred prosecution agreement and accompanying factual statement," Peace said in a company release published on Thursday.

Peace had made the comments earlier this month at a telephone press conference unveiling the group's annual results.

But in a U-turn on Thursday, Peace said: "During that press conference ... I made certain statements that I very much regret and that were at best inaccurate."

I ... "retract the comment I made as both legally and factually incorrect.

"To be clear, Standard Chartered Bank unequivocally acknowledges and accepts responsibility, on behalf of the Bank and its employees, for past knowing and willful criminal conduct in violating US economic sanctions laws and regulations, and related New York criminal laws, as set out in the deferred prosecution agreement," he added.

In afternoon deals, Standard Chartered's share price slid 0.84 percent to 1,716.50 pence on London's FTSE 100 index of leading companies, which was down 1.02 percent at 6,367.07 points.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130321/bank-boss-says-sorry-wrong-iran-comments