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UK Bank Sued Over 'Iran Ties To Bombing'

(c) Sky News 2012

Standard Chartered (Xetra: 859123 - news) has said it will "vigorously" defend a US lawsuit filed by relatives of bombing victims, relating to the bank's recent fine for concealment of Iran-linked transactions.

The damages action is being brought by the estates of some of the 241 servicemen who died when a US Marine barracks was targeted in the Lebanese capital in 1983.

The claim, filed in Manhattan (Xetra: A0X9G1 - news) , stated the victims had previously obtained a $2.6bn (£1.65bn) judgement in compensation damages against Iran in 2007 in relation to allegations of Iranian links to the suicide truck bombing, for which the group Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility.

That award remains outstanding.

The case, which seeks unspecified damages and punitive damages, was launched just a day after Standard Chartered reached a £217m settlement with US regulators relating to claims it hid financial transactions with Iran.

In a statement, Standard Chartered said: "We sympathise with the victims of this terrible incident.

"We have a rigorous system in place that includes extensive controls, policies and procedures designed to ensure that our bank’s operations are used only as intended and as permitted by international banking law.

"We expect to defend this case vigourously."

It continued: "Standard Chartered ceased all business with Iran in 2007. None of the payments which passed through Standard Chartered’s New York (Frankfurt: A0DKRK - news) branch between 2001 and 2007 related to terrorists, WMD proliferators or drug trafficking."

Referring to Standard Chartered's settlement, the lawsuit alleged that "those unlawful actions are part and parcel of Iran's longstanding, determined efforts to evade collection of the judgement".