By Anna Yukhananov and Aruna Viswanatha
WASHINGTON Jan 23 A Deutsche Boerse unit agreed
to pay $152 million to settle allegations that it held some $2.8
billion in securities in the United States for the central bank
of Iran, the U.S. Treasury said on Thursday.
The unit, Clearstream Banking of Luxembourg, had an account
with a U.S. financial institution in New York from December 2007
to June 2008 through which Iran's central bank held interest in
26 corporate and sovereign bonds, the Treasury Department said.
It did not name the U.S. financial institution involved.
"Clearstream provided the government of Iran with
substantial and unauthorized access to the U.S. financial
system," Adam Szubin, who leads the Treasury office that
enforces U.S. sanctions, the Office of Foreign Assets Control,
said in a statement.
Deutsche Boerse, which had already disclosed the settlement
amount in November, said on Thursday the settlement closed the
probe without a formal finding that Clearstream had violated
U.S. sanctions laws.
U.S. sanctions on Iran's disputed nuclear program prohibit
Iran's central bank and other Iranian institutions from any
financial dealings with the United States in order to starve
Tehran of cash. The sanctions have also made it difficult for
Iran to get access to the U.S. currency it needs to pay for oil
Clearstream met with U.S. officials about the account in
2007 and 2008, and decided to end its business with Iranian
clients, Treasury said.
According to the settlement, in February 2008 Clearstream
transferred the rights to the Iranian central bank's securities
to a custody account of a European commercial bank held by
But Iran continued to own those securities, and the
securities continued to sit in Clearstream's New York account,
the Treasury Department said.
Emails also showed that several Clearstream employees,
including at least one supervisor and one senior executive,
recognized that transferring the securities to a custody account
still meant Iran's central bank owned them, according to the
Clearstream neither admitted nor denied the Treasury
Clearstream eventually cooperated with OFAC and stopped
dealing with Iran, according to the Treasury Department, which
said it agreed to reduce the ultimate size of the fine.
Under the settlement, Clearstream is required to maintain
policies that ensure similar actions do not happen again.