Deloitte fined $10 mn in US laundering case
Big accountancy Deloitte was fined $10 million by New York state on Tuesday for its actions in advising Standard Chartered Bank over money laundering.
Deloitte's unit Deloitte Financial Advisory Services was fined and also banned for one year from work in New York state after state authorities said it did not carry out its duties independently in advising the bank on how to avoid money laundering.
Standard Chartered was fined $667 million by federal and New York state authorities last year for permitting hundreds of billions of dollars to be laundered through its US branch by clients from Iran, Myanmar, Libya and Sudan, in violation of US sanctions on the countries.
The transfers took place mainly between 2001 and 2007.
In 2004 the New York Department of Financial Services required the London-based bank to contract an independent adviser to help it comply with money-laundering statutes.
But even after Deloitte Financial Advisory Services took that role, the laundering continued.
The department said the fine, which the company agreed to in a settlement, was to cover its "misconduct, violations of law, and lack of autonomy" in advising Standard Chartered.
"At times, the consulting industry has been infected by an 'I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine' culture and a stunning lack of independence," said Benjamin Lawsky, New York superintendent of financial services, in a statement.
"Today, we are taking an important step in helping ensure that consultants are independent voices -- rather than beholden to the large institutions that pay their fees."
In a statement Deloitte emphasized that its advisory unit was not accused of participating in the laundering.
"We are pleased that, as the agreement states, a thorough investigation by DFS found no evidence that Deloitte FAS knew of, or aided, abetted or concealed any alleged violation of law" by Standard Chartered.
"Deloitte FAS looks forward to working constructively with DFS to establish best practices and procedures that are ultimately intended to become the industry standard."