SUDAN WATCH: Hey, Barclays: Tell the US and its sanctions on Sudan to get lost - By what power are "authorities" in USA levying a fine on a non USA bank?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hey, Barclays: Tell the US and its sanctions on Sudan to get lost - By what power are "authorities" in USA levying a fine on a non USA bank?

EVER since I started Sudan Watch six years ago, I have found the issue of US sanctions (especially those imposed on Sudan) mighty confusing and fishy.

My first reaction on reading the below copied report was to wonder what would happen if Barclays refuses to pay the fine.

I say, Barclays ought to tell the US to get lost and explain why the US refuses to sign up to the ICC and continues to impose sanctions on Sudan while using USAID and others to commandeer southern Sudan.

Note, apart from BBC report August 9th, still no news of Sudanese government lifting suspension on BBC broadcasts on FM in the north.

Quote of the Day
"I am tempted to become a official "toilet paper authority"- then, issue a bog standard ruling that everyone not using 100% recyclable paper must pay to me a "statutory fine" of $100".
- Vernier, in a comment entitled "By what power are "authorities" in USA levying a fine on a non USA bank?" posted at the following report, 17 August 2010
Barclays fined $300m by US for breaking sanctions against brutal regimes
American authorities have fined Barclays nearly $300m (£192m) for breaking sanctions put in place against some of the world's most brutal regimes.
From The Daily Telegraph
By Harry Wilson
Published: 9:47PM BST 16 Aug 2010
11 Comments


Barclays is understood to have voluntarily disclosed information on the dealings to the authorities after it became aware it might have broken sanctions Photo: AFP

Barclays on Monday reached a $298m settlement with US prosecutors that allows the bank to close the lid on an investigation into its business dealings with individuals linked to Cuba, Iran, Libya, Myanmar and Sudan.

The investigation relates to transactions worth $500m undertaken by Barclays between March 1995 and September 2006, which are alleged to have involved the bank removing details from payments to hide the identity of the countries of origin, according to documents filed with a Washington federal court on Monday.

Barclays is understood to have voluntarily disclosed information on the dealings to the authorities after it became aware it might have broken sanctions.

As well as co-operating with the US investigation, the bank ran an internal inquiry into transactions conducted between January 2000 and July 2007.

This saw more than 175 current and former Barclays employees interviewed and in excess of 100m records examined.

Disclosures from Barclays' own investigation led to the bank being charged by the US Department of Justice with one count of violating the International Emergency Powers Act and another of trading with the enemy.

A spokesman for Barclays declined to comment.

The US authorities have not yet commented.

No Barclays staff are understood to have been disciplined as a result of the investigation and yesterday's settlement closes down the possibility of any follow-on action by the US authorities against individual employees.

In its interim financial results for the first half of 2010 published earlier this month, Barclays admitted that it was under investigation by the US authorities and had set aside £194m in the period to cover any fines.

Barclays is not the first UK bank to have been fined for breaking US sanctions.

Lloyds TSB was forced to pay $350m in January 2009 after being accused of helping clients in Iran, Libya and Sudan avoid US sanctions.

Like Lloyds, the Barclays settlement involves US prosecutors agreeing to a "deferred prosecution" whereby the charges against the bank will be postponed for two years with the expectation of being dropped thereafter.

American sanctions against Cuba go back to the Kennedy administration in the early 1960s, while sanctions against Libya were introduced in 1986 in reaction to Tripoli's support of terrorist organisations.

Sanctions against Iran have been in place since 1995, while Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, and Sudan were added to the list two years later.

However, the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 led the US authorities to aggressively step up their investigations into terrorist financing, subsequently leading to several US and international banks being investigated and fined for violating sanctions.

Last December, Credit Suisse was hit with a $538m penalty for hiding several thousand transactions made by clients in Iran, Libya and Sudan, while in March American bank Wachovia paid $160m to settle charges that it had failed to prevent more than $100m being laundered by Colombian and Mexican drug gangs.
Copy of some comments:

perfidiousalbion
5 minutes ago
Time to tell the Yanks to disappear up their own fundament! CUBA is a "brutal regime"? As compared to Karzai in Afghanistan? One of my American grandsons described US foreign policy as "pissing off the World.....one country at a time"' He called that right. With "friends" like the USA, we don't need enemies.
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Perry de Havilland
Today 11:00 AM
Any foreign bank doing business in places like the USA or Russia are fools and deserve all the misfortunes they encounter.
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inthebeginning
Today 10:58 AM
Recommended by
1 person
The Americans are very good at killing off their allies with friendly fire. Isn't it time we dumped them as allies as a matter of self preservation?
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kergoff
Today 10:04 AM
Recommended by
1 person
Who the heck does the USA government think they are, the worlds police man?? The have no right toplace fines on companies who are not American. It is about them the this government stood up against that rotten lot in the USA
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vernier
Today 09:48 AM
Recommended by
2 people
I detect a disturbing trend.
By what power are "authorities" in USA levying a fine on a non USA bank?

Similarly, Israel declares an embargo on goods going into Gaza when commonsense tells us they have no authority to do this.

Apparently, Manchester City footie club (alias Abu Dhabi United) have forbidden their player Craig Bellamy from joining a "rival Premier club". By what authority?

I am tempted to become a official "toilet paper authority"- then, issue a bog standard ruling that everyone not using 100% recyclable paper must pay to me a "statutory fine" of $100.
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chuckwoking
Today 08:24 AM
Recommended by
5 people
Makes me wonder why other countries don't do the same.

Y'know, like India. They could pass a law that makes the chief executives of companies that operate in India, responsible for actions that their companies do in India, even if the executives are not present, are in the US, and so on.

So if say there was a minor gas leak in a place like Bhopal, that kills a mere few tens of thousands, the company could be charged and its executives as well, and those who were responsible for the company in the US could face major criminal charges and be extradited to spend a couple of years in jail awaiting trial, before maybe nothing happens.

Never happen of course. With the US everything is one way.
(Edited by author 3 hours ago)
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zhanglan
Today 03:25 AM
Recommended by
9 people
It would be interesting to know whether any of Barclays' US operations were directly involved in these transactions; if the transactions had been denominated in US$ then there would surely have been a Wire Fraud charge.

Is this perhaps yet another example of the selective extra-territorial application of US domestic legislation to events conducted lawfully overseas? In the Norris/Morgan Crucible case the events were not criminal acts in the UK or the EU where they were committed, yet the US managed to get the 65 year old ex-CEO in remission from cancer extradited without a prima facie case.

We should wake up and smell the coffee here; justice in the US is all about plea bargains and money. Being innocent or otherwise is an absolute irrelevance if someone in the USA decides they don't especially like what you are doing.

As an example - and trying not to refer to the "NatWest 4" - the following case is tangled and confused and nobody comes out of it smelling of roses, but you have to ask yourself why this woman came to be on trial in the USA and why her father was waterboarded 183 times to get him to point the finger at her - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aafia_Siddiqui . Those of you who have read Orwell's 1984 will no doubt recall Winston's rat ordeal in Room 101 which finally caused him to break down and betray his girlfriend. Personally, I find the whole USA legal system these days just as overbearing as Big Brother
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