Peter Sands still believes that whatever happened is Lawful, honest and above-board Modus operandi. Quit Pot Dickhead! It’s Capitalism Downtime Armageddon. Eat, Shit & Die in Debt Daydreaming Rich. Lloyds TSB is next. And now to the Pigeons, the Mayhem, and the Misinformation! Anglosexuality Gregor Stuart Hunter, Christopher Burke of the National United Arab Emirates. Published by Al Bawaba Ltd…here you go.

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When the Yanks hit the Lower Gulf. The Rubber Plantation Patch Boy Peter Sands thought that the feds coming after Khomeini’s ass. He executed a quarter of Trillion Dollars worth of Seigniorage Banksters Scam with Iran like Mombasa Ostrich who buried her little Brainless Head in the sand and held her big cactus Butt up for the feds to fuck. Peter Sands challenged the Old Boys of the Edwardian Club Daydreaming to Replace Mervyn King Governor Bank of England cost StanChart $340M in fines and disgrace so far. What an Asshole. Peter Sands still believes that whatever happened is Lawful, honest and above-board Modus operandi. Quit Pot Dickhead! It’s Capitalism Downtime Armageddon. Eat, Shit & Die in Debt Daydreaming Rich. Lloyds TSB is next.

And now to the Pigeons, the Mayhem, and the Misinformation! Anglosexuality Gregor Stuart Hunter, Christopher Burke of the National United Arab Emirates. Published by Al Bawaba Ltd…here you go.

Peter Sands: survivor of the financial jungle Illustration of Peter Sands. Peter Sands could have followed the path of diplomacy instead of banking after a childhood spent in Asia often the sun has set on the British empire. The chief executive of Standard Chartered was born in 1962 to British parents who ran rubber plantations. A boyhood spent growing up in newly independent countries including Malaysia and Singapore followed by a stint at Oxford’s illustrious Brasenose College almost resulted in a career as a diplomat. But Mr Sands‘s short stay at the UK foreign office after graduating soon took a different turn when he left to pursue work in the private sector. Two decades later, at the head of one of Britain’s most successful banks, the Oxford and Harvard-educated Mr Sands has remained in public life – and until this month, for all the right reasons. He had been among the loudest industry voices to admonish the banking sector as the Libor scandal gripped the City of London and Wall Street. With his thick, dark eyebrows, spectacles and white hair, Mr Sands has something of a professorial demeanour, a far cry from the gung-ho investment bankers found elsewhere in the City of London. Standard Chartered (StanChart) previously had not been linked to the Libor investigations – or any major banking scandal, save for troubles with complex investments that were relatively minor compared with those faced by other banks during the financial crisis. That all changed this month. Allegations that StanChart had allowed US$250 billion (Dh918.25bn) of prohibited transactions with Iran caught the bank by surprise. It was characterised as a “rogue institution”, with an “evident zeal to make hundreds of millions of dollars at almost any cost”, in the words of Benjamin Lawsky, New York’s superintendent of financial services. And after the bank initially mounted a vehement defence against the claims, Mr Sands cut a more contrite figure. “We made mistakes,” he said, in the midst of the crisis. “And we’re sorry. They were made in good faith and we didn’t intend to break the rules.” Settling the investigation by paying $340m in penalties within a few days, the bank’s crisis ended with a capitulation, albeit a grudging one. Nonetheless, Mr Sands may be holding his head higher than his British rivals at HSBC, which ended a similar investigation by the US Senate with an admission of all wrongdoing and full public apology. HSBC, the bank’s long-time rival and which is referred to internally as the “ugly sister”, has significantly retooled its business model over the past two years to be more focused on the same markets in which StanChart makes most of its profits. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery but as a chief executive, Mr Sands requires little. During his time at the bank, StanChart has run 10 consecutive years of increasing annual profits. Mr Sands might have been raised in the British empire’s former colonies. But any associations with the old boys’ clubs of Edwardian Britain are misplaced. Joining StanChart in 2002 as the group finance director, despite his lack of a background in accounting, he was able to rise to the role of chief executive within four years. He also oversaw the hiring of the first two Indian executive directors in the bank’s history. His reputation is also partially due to having had the good fortune to be running an emerging market-focused bank during a period when the West atrophied. But he has reasonable claims to have led Britain’s rehabilitation as a force for progress in a post-imperial age – as StanChart bankrolled almost a decade of development across Africa, Asia and the Middle East and emerging markets became economic powerhouses to rival the West. Indeed, Mr Sands is more likely to be found locked in an intellectual duel with Martin Wolf in the opinion pages of the Financial Times than snapped golfing on the front of tabloid newspapers under a sensational headline about his salary. While western banking titans were being downgraded, StanChart was one of the few whose credit rating improved. That has not stopped allegations of smugness, of course. Nevertheless, it is hard to see the British banking establishment rallying around other heads of British lenders in the same way they backed Mr Sands in the wake of the New York regulator’s actions. The Bank of England governor Sir Mervyn King explicitly criticised the actions by New York regulators for making public statements ahead of the completion of their investigation, while Boris Johnson, the London mayor, decried American “protectionism”. To many in the London establishment, Mr Sands was not just defending his bank but Britain’s competitiveness in trade finance. After all, who were these Americans to tell the rest of the world who to deal with? The robust defence of StanChart is further complicated by the fact that it is something of an oddity in the United Kingdom where it is headquartered but maintains no high street presence. In the UAE, where the bank has operated since the days of the Trucial States, it is far more visible with a retail franchise and the second-biggest investment banking business in the region. Mr Sands cuts a large public profile in the UAE, having attended the groundbreaking in March last year of the bank’s new $140m Dubai head office alongside Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the chairman of Emirates Group. “This is a strategic investment, demonstrating Standard Chartered’s long-term commitment to our customers, clients and the community in the UAE,” Mr Sands said at the time. The point was clear: StanChart, unlike British lenders nationalised during the financial crisis such as Lloyds Banking Group or Royal Bank of Scotland, was in no hurry to slim down its Middle East operations. To illustrate this, it is one of the few international banks in the region to have quietly hired staff during the past few years. But its “Here for Good” branding always sat uneasily during the years the lender maintained operations in Zimbabwe, even if it did so alongside other international banks. But the worst the bank faced were charges of hypocrisy. Allegations that StanChart played a role as a conduit for Iranian trade may prove harder to shake as further investigations remain pending with the US federal authorities. More unpleasant details could yet surface. But Mr Sands has so far survived the first major crisis of his 10 years in banking with his job intact. Still, the reputational damage may be hard to erase. StanChart’s squeaky-clean image following the financial crisis helped Lord Mervyn Davies, Mr Sands’s predecessor as the chief executive, secure a position as a UK minister for trade and investment. Before the bank’s imbroglio with regulators, Mr Sands had been rumoured as a potential candidate to succeed Sir Mervyn King as the head of the Bank of England. That notion may well now be dead. In past centuries, a British businessmen whose reputations were sullied in the City could always depart to find a new life in the colonies. Mr Sands, whose name has been made from the resurgence of those territorial possessions as dynamic emerging markets, may not have that option. ghunter@thenational.ae

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