Standard Chartered CEO Peter Sands hit back at the New York State regulator at the end of last week, saying that the bank had not violated U.S. sanctions and that he saw "no grounds" for revoking the lender's license. Reuters

Standard Chartered CEO Peter Sands hit back at the New York State regulator that accused the group of hiding a least quarter of a trillion US dollars worth of transactions tied to Iran by saying that the bank had not broken US sanctions and that he saw "no grounds" for revoking the lender's licence.

In his first public comments since the allegations were made, Sands said: "We reject the position and portrayal of facts by the Department of Financial Services (DFS)."

It would be "disproportionate and wholly inconsistent with the actions of other US authorities in other sanctions matters to revoke the bank's New York licence", he added.

The DFS said it conducted an extensive investigation, which included the review of more than 30,000 pages of documents, including internal Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) e-mails, that "describe wilful and egregious violations of law".

"For almost 10 years, SCB schemed with the government of Iran and hid from regulators roughly 60,000 secret transactions, involving at least $250bn, and reaping SCB hundreds of millions of dollars in fees," the DFS said.

"SCB's actions left the US financial system vulnerable to terrorists, weapons dealers, drug kingpins and corrupt regimes, and deprived law enforcement investigators of crucial information used to track all manner of criminal activity."

Rogue institution

The damning report repeatedly used language associated with legal deception, with such examples as "SCB utilised such schemes to cloak the dollar-clearing activities of Iranian clients and thereby shield those transactions from regulatory scrutiny".

The bank acted as a "rogue institution", it said.

Standard Chartered responded with a detailed statement on the history of events from its voluntary internal and external investigation. The bank said it did not "believe the order issued by the DFS presents a full and accurate picture of the facts".

"There are lots of matters in that order that either we don't recognise or we don't understand or are factually inaccurate," said Sands. He added that the probe was "very damaging" for the brand.

Immediately following publication of the New York state filings for the charges against Standard Chartered, the bank's shares plummeted by nearly 20 percent. Its Hong Kong-listed shares suffered the biggest intra-day fall on record at one stage with a 20.7 percent plunge to HK$149.0.

The shares have retraced some of their losses, after rising nearly 4 percent as of 0720 GMT to reach 1360.65p and by the near same trajectory in its Hong Kong listed stock.

In addition, according to two unnamed sources cited by the Financial Times, the lender is said to be consulting lawyers about claiming reputational damage. Standard Chartered "is aware of the sensitivity involved in taking a militant stance toward its regulator", the sources said.