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SBD Global/August 8, 2012/Finance

Liverpool FC Sponsor Standard Chartered Facing Allegations Of Hiding Money For Iran

More than £6B ($9.4B) was wiped from the value of Liverpool FC shirt sponsor Standard Chartered Tuesday after the banking giant was "accused of hiding £160B ($250B) of transactions with the Iranian government," according to Neil Hodgson of the LIVERPOOL DAILY POST. Regulators in N.Y. said that Standard was a "rogue institution, which broke sanctions imposed on Iran, exposing the U.S. to terrorists, drug kingpins and weapon dealers." Standard, which is one of the top-five largest banks in the U.K. by market value, said it "strongly rejects the position or the portrayal of facts" set out in the order by the N.Y. state’s Department of Financial Services. The bank, which signed a four year £80M ($125M) shirt sponsorship deal with Liverpool in '09, has been called to appear before regulators on Monday to "explain the apparent violations and defend its licence to trade on the N.Y. Stock Exchange" (LIVERPOOL DAILY POST, 8/7).

IMPACT ON LIVERPOOL: In London, Jonathan Harwood wrote that there could be implications for Liverpool FC. The last thing Liverpool needs now is "a political crisis surrounding its chief sponsor, which could put one of its main revenue streams in danger." Standard Chartered is believed to pay around £20M ($31M) a year to put its logo on the Liverpool shirt. It is "one of the most lucrative deals in the Premier League" and runs through the '13-14 season. When contacted by The Week, Liverpool said that it had "no comment" to make. Any fallout from the allegations against Standard Chartered "could have serious implications for Liverpool's global reputation, especially in North America." U.S. football fans are "unlikely to take to a club that has a bank accused of funding Iran" on its shirts (THE WEEK, 8/7).
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