The Strategist

FT: Iran used Lloyds and Santander UK to circumvent US sanctions

02/06/2024 - 06:12

Backed by Tehran's security agencies, Iran utilized two big British banks to transport money covertly around the globe as part of a large-scale plan to avoid sanctions, according to the Financial Times.

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Documents obtained by the newspaper reveal that Iran's Petrochemical Commercial Company (PCC) has shell British firms registered under the names of Lloyds Banking Group and Santander UK, the British arm of Santander, a Spanish bank.

U.S. sanctions have applied to state-owned PCC and its British affiliate, PCC UK, since November 2018.

The Financial Times reports that PCC was a member of a network that Washington claims helped raise hundreds of millions of dollars for Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

The British unit of PCC continued to operate from an office in the central London borough of Belgravia, using a sophisticated network of shell companies in the UK and other countries, even after the imposition of sanctions, according to documents, emails, and account data analyzed by the newspaper.

Santander stated to the Financial Times that it was "focused on complying with sanctions regimes" and that it could not comment on ties with individual clients.

Lloyds refrained from commenting as well, stating merely that company abides with legislation.



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