The threat by the New York banking regulator this week to strip Standard Chartered of its New York banking licence was designed to get the attention of senior management and would effectively be a death sentence for the bank if carried out, sources said. On Monday, Benjamin Lawsky, the head of the New York State Department of Financial Services, accused the bank of abetting $250 billion worth of money laundering transactions linked to Iran, calling Standard Chartered a "rogue institution". In a regulatory order, the DFS threatened to remove the bank's New York banking licence, effectively cutting it off from the world's largest financial centre.
Concerns have since surfaced that Lawsky and the DFS acted unilaterally and without coordinating with relevant federal regulators such as the Securities and Exchange Commission, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency or the Federal Reserve. The language and tone of the regulatory order was more emotional and "juicy" than the more reserved
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