Standard Chartered Nears New Settlement Over Iran; Criminal Charges Unlikely in MF Global Probe: Roundup

Standard Chartered, the British bank that agreed to pay a New York State regulator $340 million to settle charges that it violated U.S. sanctions with Iran, is nearing a settlement with the U.S. Treasury and Manhattan district attorney, according to The New York Times. The anticipated deal will likely cost Standard Chartered less than its settlement with New York’s Department of Financial Services, because the federal and local authorities view the banks actions less severely than did the state regulator.

A Department of Justice probe into the collapse of MF Global is going nowhere fast, according to The Wall Street Journal, which reports that former CEO Jon Corzine met with federal investigators for the first time last week. Meanwhile, sources tell The Journal that it’s looking more unlikely criminal charges will be filed.

“Many people on Main Street distrust Wall Street right now, yet few can put their finger on why,” said Jamie Raab, publisher of Grand Central, according to The Times.Which is an overwrought explanation for giving former Goldman Sachs executive Greg Smith $1.5 million for his book, Why ILeft Goldman Sachs. A simpler reason: People want the dirt.

England’s Financial Services Authority levied an $800,000 fine against Peter Cummings, a former head of corporate lending at HBOS, and Mr. Cummings isn’t happy about it:

For the past three and a half years I have been singled out and subjected to an extraordinary Orwellian process by an organisation that acts as lawmaker, judge, jury, appeal court and executioner. The FSA has never had to prove its case to anyone other than itself, and sits safe in the knowledge that few individuals can afford to take it on.

“The decision to single me out for investigation is even more grotesque given that even the FSA has to admit in its notice that other senior people were involved in the critical decisions for which I am taken to task. This is tokenism at its most sinister, and has made it feel throughout like institutional oppression.

Moore Capital Management, the $15 billion hedge fund founded by Louis Moore Bacon, reduced its head count by 10 to 15 people, letting go of research analysts and portfolio managers, according to Bloomberg.

JPMorgan announced another reorganization of its corporate and investment banking division.

Shares in Abercrombie & Fitch rose yesterday after the retailer hired Goldman to help ward off activist investors. Relational Investors, the hedge fund managed by Ralph Whitworth, increased its stake in A&F from about 2 percent to 3.8 percent earlier this year.

Underwriters of initial public offering are increasingly inclined to allow company insiders sell shares before lockup periods end, according to The Journal. Traditionally, underwriters prohibit insiders from selling shares in the first 180 days after an offering, preventing the market for a company’s stock from being flooded by sales as employees and early investors look to cash in.

Wall Street may be pulling for Mitt Romney, but it expects Barack Obama to win the presidential election, according to an informal poll conducted by CNBC.