SPAIN’S largest bank, Banco Santander, saw 5% of its value wiped off in the Spanish stock market on Monday, after the Financial Times reported that Iran had used its accounts to avoid international sanctions.

At 11am on Monday the bank’s shares were trading at €3.671, according to Spanish news agency Europa Press, which was a fall of 5.38% compared to its closing price on Friday. 

The Financial Times reported yesterday that Iran had used the British arm of the bank, Santander UK, as well as competitor Lloyds, to covertly move money around the world as part of a ‘vast sanctions-evasion scheme backed by Tehran’s intelligence services’. 

The newspaper claimed that the two lenders had provided accounts to front companies that were secretly owned by an Iranian petrochemicals company located near Buckingham Palace and that had been subject to international sanctions since November 2018.

Banco Santander ordered to pay banker €68 million just months after big staff cuts and branch closures in Spain
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The company in question is called Petrochemical Commercial Company, and is controlled by the Iranian state, the Financial Times reported. The firm 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’, the newspaper claimed. 

A spokesperson from Santander told Europa Press: “We cannot make any comment about our clients. Santander meets its legal and regulatory obligations, and we focus a lot of attention on the regulatory compliance of sanctions imposed on third parties.”

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