THE CEO of Deloitte has hit back at claims that his firm helped Standard Chartered Bank disguise secret Iranian client transactions from US regulators.
Joe Echevarria, US CEO since June 2011, has refuted allegations that Deloitte aided the bank in hiding transactions, involving at least $250bn (£160bn), from US regulators from 2001 to 2010, telling Reuters that the charges levelled by the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) were a “distortions of the facts.”
The report, published by Benjamin Lawsky, superintendent of the New York State Department, claimed the bank was “apparently aided by its consultant Deloitte & Touche, which intentionally omitted critical information in its ‘independent report’ to regulators”.
According to the DFS, Standard Chartered asked Deloitte to delete any references to payments that could reveal its practices involving Iranian clients from its draft report. In an email cited by Lawsky, a partner at the firm said that Deloitte “agreed” to the request because “this is too much and too politically sensitive for both SCB and Deloitte. That is why I drafted the watered-down version.”
In an interview with Reuters, Echevarria said that language cited was “an unfortunate choice of words that was pulled out of context”.
In August and September 2005, Deloitte is also alleged to have “unlawfully” provided Standard Chartered with confidential historical transaction review reports that it had prepared for two other major foreign banking clients that were under investigation for money laundering.
“We have pretty robust processes in place for behaviour that violates law, rules or firm policies,” Echevarria said. “Appropriate actions are taken when individuals are found to have done that.”
A source close to the matter told Reuters the DFS has no plans to bring charges against Deloitte. A spokesman for the department refused to confirm or deny that statement.