The Financial Times revealed that Iran used two of the UK's largest banks, Lloyds and Santander UK, to secretly move money around the world. It is a maneuver included in a plan to evade economic sanctions supported by Tehran's intelligence services. Lloyd's and Santander UK provided accounts for British shell companies that secretly belonged to an Iranian petrochemical company, Trading Petrochemicals, which operated from its headquarters near Buckingham. The aforementioned company is controlled by Tehran and was part of a network that the United States accuses of raising hundreds of millions of dollars for the Quds Force, a specialized asymmetric warfare division of the Revolutionary Guard, and of working with “Russian intelligence agencies with Iran.” With the aim of raising money for Iranian-affiliated militias. The repercussions of this information appeared yesterday on the Spanish Stock Exchange, and the bank closed with a decline of 5%.
Both the commercial petrochemical company and its British subsidiary have been subject to US sanctions since 2018. In a statement, Santander said it had not violated international sanctions regulations imposed by the US: “Banco Santander has not violated US regulations on sanctions against third parties.” “According to our investigations. The bank has policies and procedures in place to ensure that sanctions-related requirements are met. Santander will continue to cooperate proactively with the relevant UK and US authorities.” Based on accounting records and emails, the Financial Times shows that since the sanctions were imposed, the Iranian company has used British companies to receive money from Iranian front entities based in China, while concealing its true ownership through “credit agreements” and nominated directors.
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