ABU DHABI, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Standard Chartered is liable to legal action in the United Arab Emirates after it agreed to close some customers’ UAE accounts in an anti-money laundering settlement with U.S. regulators, the UAE central bank said on Thursday.
Under the settlement, announced this week, the bank agreed to pay a $300 million fine, end high-risk relationships with small and medium-sized business clients in the UAE, and suspend the processing of dollar-denominated payments for some clients at its Hong Kong unit.
The UAE central bank said it understood that between 1,400 and 8,000 Standard Chartered accounts would be affected in the UAE.
Standard Chartered will be liable to legal action by the account owners “because of the material and moral damage which is falling on them”, the central bank said.
It also said its Consumer Protection Unit was willing to consider complaints from affected account holders.
However, the central bank said that while Standard Chartered had not fulfilled U.S. regulatory requirements, its UAE branches had committed “no significant violations” of international money laundering rules, such as the standards of the Financial Action Task Force, an inter-governmental body. (Reporting by Stanley Carvalho; Writing by Andrew Torchia; editing by Jason Neely)