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US fines RBS $133 mn for violating Iran sanctions

A man uses an ATM at a branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) in London in this June 14, 2013 file photo
A man uses an ATM at a branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) in London in this June 14, 2013 file photo

US authorities announced fines totalling $133 million against Royal Bank of Scotland Monday for violating US sanctions regimes on Iran, Myanmar, Sudan and Cuba.

The US Treasury said the bank had systematically tried to hide payments involving Iranian clients between 2005 and 2009, breaking Washington's prohibitions on deals with Iranian financial institutions.

RBS had stripped off references to the Iranian institutions from payment messages so that US clearing banks were not aware of the parties involved.

The Treasury said that RBS did the same with payments involving the three other countries, in violation of US sanctions at the time.

Fines of $50 million each were applied by the Federal Reserve and New York state's financial regulator, and $33 million by the Treasury.

But RBS will only pay $100 million, as the Treasury said its part "will be deemed satisfied" by the payment of the Fed portion.

"This action demonstrates our continuing efforts to aggressively enforce US sanctions laws against Iran and other sanctioned parties," said Adam Szubin, director of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control.

RBS agreed to implement procedures to prevent a recurrence of the problem, and dismissed a number of employees involved, the authorities said.

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