US Iran money probe targets RBS and Commerzbank

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US Iran money probe targets RBS and Commerzbank

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US authorities are investigating Royal Bank of Scotland over possible breaches of economic sanctions against Iran.

It is part of a crackdown in which another British bank – Standard Chartered – has already agreed to pay a heavy fine for transactions involving Tehran.

The inquiry raises the possibility of a hefty fine for RBS, which is 82 percent owned by the British taxpayer following government bailouts.

“The investigation costs, remediation required or liability incurred could have a material adverse effect on the group’s net assets, operating results or cash flows in a particular period,” an RBS spokeswoman said.

Germany’s second biggest-lender, Commerzbank, also said in a regulatory filing that investigations by the United States into violations of sanctions on Iran and other countries could hold “considerably negative” consequences.

Commerzbank, which is 25 percent-owned by the German state, said US authorities were investigating whether its dealings with Iran, Sudan, Myanmar, North Korea and Cuba had violated US embargoes, and pointed out that other banks had paid large settlements to end such investigations.

“The financial impact of the procedure and its termination cannot be predicted and could exceed eventual provisions, which could have considerably negative consequences,” Commerzbank said.

Commerzbank repeated on Wednesday that it had had no new business with Iran since 2007 and that it was too early to say what the financial consequences of the US probes would be.