Sunday, January 11, 2009

Lloyds: Just another money launderer

Last year, Lloyd's said it would defend itself "vigorously" after accusations they helped launder money from the AremisSoft Corporation fraud.

Now today Lloyds decided to pay a $350 millin dollar fine, after it and ten of the world's top banks were accused of laundering money for Iran.

Ten international banks including British-based Lloyds laundered "billions of dollars" for Iran through New York banks, Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau announced Friday. The scheme helped Iran turn its dirty money into greenbacks, which it could then use to buy goods prohibited by international sanctions.

Some of the money went to fund terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, and to help Iran get materials, including tungsten, for long-range missiles, sources said.

"This is one of the biggest investigations we've ever conducted," said Morgenthau.

Lloyds admitted it laundered $300 million and agreed to pay a $350 million fine and open its books to investigators. If records show that the bank knew it was helping Iran break international law or foster terrorism, Lloyds could face criminal prosecution, authorities said.

None of the other nine banks was identified because they are working out similar agreements with Morgenthau's investigators. The CIA will also review the bank records.

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