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StanChart is ‘making progress’ with US regulators following Iran scandal, finance chief says

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Standard Chartered remains under U.S. supervision six years after accusations it breached Iran sanctions, but Chief Financial Officer Andy Halford told CNBC that the bank is making “good progress.”

In 2012, the New York State Department said the British lender hid $250 billion worth of transactions with the Iranian government. Following an agreement in the same year, where it reached a $340 million settlement, it has been under the care of an independent monitor to improve its money laundering prevention scheme.

Halford told CNBC’s “Street Signs” Wednesday that Standard Chartered is still being observed.

“We have got monitors in, we are making good progress, but these are very, very complex issues,” Halford said.

“We are dealing in many, many countries around the world … We have been noticed by the monitors (as) having made very good progress, it’s just we are not quite across the line yet.”

The agreement to remain under supervision has been extended twice and is currently due to expire in July.

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Birx says someone was giving Trump ‘parallel data’ about Covid pandemic

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Deborah Birx, coronavirus response coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force, speaks after a White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing at the Department of Health and Human Services on June 26, 2020 in Washington, DC.

Joshua Roberts | Getty Images

Dr. Deborah Birx, the Trump White House coronavirus response coordinator, said in a CBS interview released on Sunday that Former President Donald Trump had been reviewing “parallel” data sets on the coronavirus pandemic from someone inside the administration.

“I saw the president presenting graphs that I never made,” Birx told Margaret Brennan on CBS News’ “Face The Nation.” “Someone inside was creating a parallel set of data and graphics that were shown to the president.”

Birx, who announced her retirement as President Joe Biden took office last week, said she doesn’t know the identity of the person who gave the president different information. She added that there were Covid-19 deniers within the Trump administration.

“There were people who definitely believed that this was a hoax,” she said. “I think the information was confusing at the beginning. I think because we didn’t talk about the spectrum of the disease, everyone interpreted what they knew.”

More than 25 million people have been infected and at least 417,000 people have died in the U.S. since the pandemic began, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Birx said she had always considered resigning from the White House coronavirus task force and was censored by the Trump administration, but denied ever withholding information on the virus.

“When you have a pandemic where you’re relying on every American to change their behavior, communication is absolutely key,” she said. “Every time a statement was made by a political leader that wasn’t consistent with public health needs, that derailed our response. It is also why I went out on the road, because I wasn’t censored on the road.”

Birx also said she grew increasingly concerned over the Trump administration’s pandemic strategy, especially right before the presidential election. Earlier in the pandemic, Birx had endorsed the administration’s response but later frustrated Trump when she emphasized the severity of the pandemic.

“Colleagues of mine that I’d known for decades — decades — in that one experience, because I was in the White House, decided that I had become this political person, even though they had known me forever,” Birx said. “I had to ask myself every morning, ‘Is there something that I think I can do that would be helpful in responding to this pandemic?’ And it’s something I asked myself every night.”

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Stocks will fall at least 30% in a drawn-out bear market: David Tice

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Asia markets: Coronavirus, currencies and oil

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SINGAPORE — Stocks in Japan were set to open little changed on Monday as investors continue to monitor the situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

Futures pointed to a muted open for Japanese stocks. The Nikkei futures contract in Chicago was at 28,660 while its counterpart in Osaka was at 28,630. That compared against the Nikkei 225’s last close at 28,631.45.

Shares in Australia edged higher in morning trade, with the S&P/ASX 200 up 0.24%.

Amid the pandemic, China surpassed the U.S. as the world’s largest recipient of foreign direct investment, according to a report released Sunday from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

China brought in $163 billion in inflows last year, compared to $134 billion attracted by the U.S., according to the report.

Developments around Covid-19 are likely to be watched by investors, as the world races to adapt against the mutating coronavirus which has produced a number of potentially more infectious variants.

Globally, more than 99 million people have been infected by Covid-19 and at least 2,127,206 lives have been taken, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 90.237 after seeing a recent decline from levels above 90.6.

The Japanese yen traded at 103.79 per dollar following levels below 103.5 against the greenback seen last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7719, off levels above $0.776 seen last week.

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