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Osborne, Geithner Discussed Standard Chartered Issue Three Times

Aug. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne spoke with U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on three occasions over two days this week concerning a New York regulator’s investigation of Standard Chartered Plc, according to a British government official.

Osborne told Geithner in a conversation on Aug. 7 and twice Aug. 8 that he was concerned about how allegations against the British bank came without warning and said he wanted fair treatment for British companies operating in the U.S., said the official, who declined to be named to comply with policy.

The U.S. Treasury Department yesterday said in a letter to the U.K. Treasury its Office of Foreign Assets Control is investigating Standard Chartered for “potential Iran-related violations as well as a broader set of potential sanctions violations.” The letter was released following talks between Osborne and Geithner.

The bank’s Chief Executive Officer Peter Sands today hit back at a New York regulator’s claims the lender broke U.S. sanctions, and said he saw “no grounds” for revoking the lender’s license.

Standard Chartered has tumbled about 16 percent in London trading this week after New York regulator Benjamin Lawsky threatened to strip the London-based bank of its license to operate in the state, alleging it processed $250 billion of deals with Iranian banks subject to sanctions.

The dispute is becoming increasingly political. Mayor of London Boris Johnson yesterday accused New York of seeking to damage its biggest competitor as a financial center, while Bank of England Governor Mervyn King criticized the regulator for failing to co-ordinate with its counterparts.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gonzalo Vina in London at gvina@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net

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