Bank accused of Iran money laundering lobbies in US


Standard Chartered Bank, a British bank with a U.S. division that is suspected by the New York State Department of Financial Services of laundering $250 billion dollars to Iran, has been trying to influence U.S. policy through lobbying, but exactly what the bank is trying to accomplish remains vague.

So far this year, Standard Chartered Bank has spent $90,000 to hire mega-lobbying firm The Glover Park Group, according to Senate records. Complying with regulations, the Glover Park Group has filed lobbying reports quarterly.

Since 2000, records obtained from the Senate and Sunlight's Influence Explorer reveal, Standard Chartered Bank has spent more than $1 million hiring lobbyists to contact Congress, the White House, and the Departments of State and Treasury while, according to the report, "SCB's actions left the U.S. financial system vulnerable to terrorists,weapons dealers, drug kingpins and corrupt regimes, and deprived law enforcement investigatorsof crucial information used to track all manner of criminal activity."

The most recent filing reveals lobbying in both the House and Senate. The issue code is– understandably– banking, but the specific lobbying issue is “Issues affecting the financial service industries.” Which reveals nothing about whether the lobbying had anything to do with banking regulations in regards to Iran.

Other recent reports offer no further clues. The 2012 first quarter report, and all of 2011, the named issue has been banking or finance and the specific issue has been some variation of, “Issues affecting the financial service industries.”

Since the money laundering alleged by New York State Department of Financial Serves took place from 2001-2007, we took a closer look at lobbying filings from that period.  During this time, both the Glover Park Group and The Global Policy Group lobbied for Standard Charterd Bank, according to Influence Explorer.

The Glover Park Group was lobbying on “Issues affecting the financial services industries” while the Global Policy Group lobbied on “U.S. foreign economic policies toward Asia, Africa, and Middle East.” This description may or may not include issues involving Iran. Iranian sanctions, and their evasion would fit under the umbrella of U.S. economic policies in the Middle East but without concise reporting of issues, it is hard to tell.

Sunlight is attempting to contact both lobbying shops for clarification and will update this post if we obtain any.