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Lloyds TSB penalized over U.S. sanctions breach

  • Story Highlights
  • Bank accused of helping customers in Sudan and Iran avoid U.S. sanctions
  • Violations took place between 1995 and 2007
  • U.S. Justice Department: Lloyds TSB acknowledged "criminal conduct"
  • It said Lloyds agreed to forfeit the funds in return for an end to its investigation
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By CNN's Justice Producer Terry Frieden
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- British bank Lloyds TSB has agreed to forfeit $350 million dollars to U.S. and New York authorities for criminally hiding information about prohibited dealings with Iranian and Sudanese customers.

Prosecutors said that the bank's misconduct took place between 1995 and 2007.

Prosecutors said that the bank's misconduct took place between 1995 and 2007.

Under a settlement reached in a federal court in Washington late Friday, Lloyds acknowledged criminal conduct and forfeited $175 million to U.S. authorities and an equal amount to New York authorities.

Court documents say for more than a decade Lloyds had been falsifying data which moved through U.S. institutions by "stripping out" of wire transfers any references to business deals involving customers in the two countries.

Lloyds officials acknowledged they feared if the U.S. had been aware of the deals they would likely have been blocked because of restrictions on commercial deals with Iran and Sudan.

"For more than 12 years Lloyd's facilitated the anonymous movement of hundreds of millions of dollars from U.S.-sanctioned nations through our financial system," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Matthew Friedrich.

"Lloyds stripped identifying information from international wire transfers that would have raised a red flag at U.S. financial institutions and caused such payments to be scrutinized," he said.

Although the money must be forfeited, under terms of the deal Lloyds will not presently be prosecuted because it accepted responsibility and has vowed to abide by the U.S. laws. After two years the U.S. will forego prosecution and formally drop the criminal charge.

In a statement, the bank said: "We committed substantial resources to a thorough internal investigation, the results of which were shared with U.S. investigators and regulators.

"We are committed to running our business with the highest levels of integrity and regulatory compliance across all of our operations and have undertaken a range of significant steps to further enhance our compliance programs."

In October, the British government agreed a deal with Lloyds TSB, HBOS and Royal Bank of Scotland to make a multi-billion investment in the three to help them through what Prime Minister Gordon Brown described as the "first financial crisis of the global age."

All About Lloyds TSB Group plcU.S. Department of Justice

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