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PRESS: Iran used Lloyds and Santander to evade sanctions, FT reports

5th Feb 2024 10:25

(Alliance News) - Shares in Lloyds Banking Group PLC and Banco Santander SA fell on Monday, after a report that Iran used the two banks to covertly move money around the world as part of a sanctions-evasion scheme.

The Financial Times said Lloyds and Santander UK provided accounts to British front companies secretly owned by a sanctioned Iranian petrochemicals company, citing documents it had seen.

The state-controlled Petrochemical Commercial Co was part of a network that the US accuses of raising hundreds of millions of dollars for the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Quds Force and of working with Russian intelligence agencies to raise money for Iranian proxy militias.

Both PCC and its British subsidiary PCC UK have been under US sanctions since November 2018. 

The FT said documents showed that since being placed under US sanctions PCC has used companies in the UK to receive funds from Iranian front entities in China while concealing their real ownership through "trustee agreements" and nominee directors. 

One of these companies, called Pisco UK, used a business account with Santander UK. Another PCC front company in the UK is Aria Associates, which has an account with Lloyds.

Shares in Lloyds Banking Group fell 1.7% to 41.61 pence in London on Monday.

Shares in Banco Santander fell 5.8% to EUR3.66 in Madrid on Monday.

By Jeremy Cutler, Alliance News reporter

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