Three major Iranian-owned banks in Britain are reportedly planning to push the country’s banks to do business with them through a top regulating agency.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Bank Sepah, Persia International Bank PLC and Melli Bank PLC were considering filing an arbitration case with Britain’s Payment Systems Regulator – the independent economic regulator for the payment systems industry in – to the same effect.
The report added that this follows continuing reluctance by British banks to process transactions that involve Iran even thought the sanctions against Iran had already been lifted.
"We will assess any applications we receive under these powers in line with guidance we have published," a spokesman for the agency was quoted as saying.
The Wall Street Journal added that the British banks were still concerned about the poor standards of Iranian banks specifically with regards to issues such as money-laundering and financial fraud.
The report added that this would explain why Iranian-owned banks were still effectively frozen out of Britain’s financial system.
It further emphasized that Iranian banks had already come up with an idea to soothe the concerns of their British peers.
The Wall Street Journal added that Bank Sepah, Persia International Bank PLC and Melli Bank PLC had joined forces to create their own “Radar List” of companies in Iran.
This, it added, is meant to make big banks more comfortable.
After the removal of sanctions against Iran last year, former US secretary of state John Kerry repeatedly called on British banks – and others – to resume business with Iran. His calls, however, appear to have already fallen on deaf ears.
The only European institution that agreed to let the Bank Sepah clear transactions is the Bundesbank, Germany's central bank, the Wall Street Journal added. So far, Bank Sepah hasn't made any commercial transactions through the arrangement.
"They're in an invidious position because they are a U.K. regulated and authorized bank, but they can only access the European clearing system through Germany," it quoted Sue Millar, Bank Sepah's attorney in London with the firm Stephenson Harwood, as saying.