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StanChart to Settle (Again); Wells Fargo Banker Faces Insider Trading Charges; Analyzing Citi's Big Announcement

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Receiving Wide Coverage ...

StanChart to Settle … Again: Standard Chartered expects to pay another $330 million in order to settle claims by U.S. agencies that it violated U.S. sanctions. Negotiations with the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve and the Manhattan district attorney's office are currently underway and expected to close "very shortly." You may recall that the U.K.-based bank has already paid $340 million to settle rebel regulator Benjamin Lawsky's anti-money-laundering allegations related to transactions with Iran earlier this year. That charge will affect the bank's earnings in March, but StanChart still expects pretax profit to be roughly 5% higher than last year's $6.78 billion and, according to Finance Director Richard Meddings, the bank remains "firmly in growth mode." Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Financial Times

Wells Banker Accused of Being Insider Trader: Another day, another insider trading charge. This one involves Wells Fargo investment banker John W. Femenia. (Noted the Guardian's Heidi N. Moore in a tweet: "The world (including Wall Street) didn't even know 'Wells Fargo investment banker' was a real thing. But now ... ) Femenia is being accused by the Securities and Exchange Commission of tipping off his stockbroker friend (who tipped off his friends who tipped off their friends) about four impending mergers involving bank clients. According to Dealbook, the mergers include "the acquisition of the Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation by the Rock-Tenn Company and the sale of the Shaw Group to Chicago Bridge & Iron." Wells told the FT Femenia was suspended shortly after it learned of the SEC's allegations.

Citi's Big Announcement: Very shortly after yesterday's Morning Scan, Citi announced plans to cut 11,000 jobs, largely in its consumer banking division. News outlets, of course, were quick to analyze what the announcement means. (Per the Journal, the move "is likely the opening salvo in a wave of cutbacks, business sales and other moves that could reduce the company's global reach." Per American Banker, the plan "suggests Citi is hedging its strategy of being an omnipresent, upper-tier player in emerging markets." Per the Times, it reflects "a new emphasis on aiming at commercial banking jobs" within the industry in general.) However, they were also quick to analyze how the announcement reads. Business Insider declared the press release should get "a gold medal for over-the-top PR speak," before going on to criticize the firm's decision to refer to the layoffs as "repositioning actions" throughout the corporate-jargon-laden text. Luckily, The Atlantic thought to provide Cliff Notes. "In other words," senior editor Derek Thompson wrote. "Citigroup today announced [layoffs]. These actions will [save money]."

Wall Street Journal

The Bank of England has elected to keep its stimulus program on hold. No statement was issued to explain why, specifically, but the paper suggests inflation concerns and "a move by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne to claim cash built up from interest payments on the BOE's bondholdings" may have contributed to the decision.

Financial Times

Three former employees are alleging Deutsche Bank hid up to $12 billion in losses by misvaluing "a giant position in derivatives structures known as leveraged super senior trades." The alleged faulty accounting enabled the bank to avoid a government bailout. Deutsche Bank said the allegations were old and also "wholly unfounded."

Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo "are likely to face strong regulatory pressure" to join the ranks of banks charged with the setting the London interbank offered rate, after an analysis from the U.K.'s Financial Services Authority revealed them as strong candidates to do so. This finding was unveiled alongside the FSA's preliminary rules for revamping how Libor is set, which includes replacing the British Bankers' Association with an independent administrator who can oversee the process.

New York Times

This DealBook article takes a look at JPMorgan Chase's frequent move to underwrite loans backing companies getting ready to purchase other companies. A $9.5 billion loan facility to support Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold's takeovers of Plains Exploration & Production and the McMoRan Exploration Company is cited as the latest example.

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(Image: Bloomberg News)

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