JPMorgan fined for contravening Iran, Cuba sanctions
WASHINGTON — JPMorgan Chase Bank has been fined $88.3 million for contravening US sanctions against regimes in Iran, Cuba and Sudan, and the former Liberian government, the US Treasury Department announced Thursday.
The Treasury said that the bank had engaged in a number of “egregious” financial transfers, loans and other facilities involving those countries but, in announcing a settlement with the bank, said they were “apparent” violations of various sanctions regulations.
JPMorgan agreed to pay the money “to settle potential civil liability for apparent violations” of seven separate sanctions rules between 2005 and 2011.
It said that between 2005 and 2006, the bank processed nearly $180 million in transfers involving Cubans in contravention of the Cuban Assets Control Regulations.
In 2009, the bank contravened the Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferators Sanctions when it helped to finance a trade deal involving Iran-linked vessels, the Treasury said.
In another case, the Treasury said, the bank failed to turn over requested documents involving a wire transfer related to Sudan.
Treasury called all of those actions “egregious because of reckless acts or omissions” by the bank.
Other transgressions also covered in the settlement include wire transfers that invoked various sanctions regimes, including with the regime of former Liberian strongman Charles Taylor; a letter of credit that contravened the Treasury’s Iranian Transactions Regulations; and the transfer of 32,000 ounces of gold bullion to the benefit of an Iranian bank, which JP Morgan failed to report to the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.
“OFAC determined that JPMC (JPMorgan) is a very large, commercially sophisticated financial institution, and that JPMC managers and supervisors acted with knowledge of the conduct constituting the apparent violations and recklessly failed to exercise a minimal degree of caution or care with respect to JPMC’s US sanctions obligations,” the Treasury said.
A JPMorganChase spokeswoman told AFP that none of the cases “involved any intent to violate OFAC regulations.”
“These rare incidents were unrelated and isolated from each other. The firm screens hundreds of millions of transaction and customer records per day and annual error rates are a tiny fraction of a percent,” Jennifer Zuccarelli said in an email.