UPDATE 3-Barclays to pay $298 million in U.S. sanctions case

* Barclays cooperated fully, did internal investigation

* Seeking approval of deferred prosecution agreement

* Latest in a series of similar cases with major banks
(Adds details of Lloyds case, details of charges, hearing)

By James Vicini

WASHINGTON, Aug 16 (BestGrowthStock) – Barclays Bank Plc (BARC.L: )
has agreed to pay $298 million to settle criminal charges that
it violated U.S. sanctions through dealings with banks in Cuba,
Iran, Libya, Sudan and Myanmar, according to U.S. court
documents filed on Monday.

The London-based bank was charged with violating the
International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the Trading
with the Enemy Act as a result of $500 million in illegal
transactions from 1995 through 2006, according to the
documents.

The United States has imposed sanctions and trade embargoes
against Cuba, Iran, Libya, Sudan and Myanmar. Barclays was
accused of hiding transactions on behalf of banks in those
countries.

“Barclays violated both U.S. and New York state criminal
laws by knowingly and willfully moving or permitting to be
moved hundreds of millions of dollars through the U.S.
financial system on behalf of banks from Cuba, Iran, Libya,
Sudan and Myanmar,” according to the documents.

“To hide these illegal transactions, Barclays altered and
routed payment messages” to ensure that the prohibited
transactions could clear its branch in New York and other U.S.
financial institutions, according to the documents.

Barclays spokesman Michael O’Looney in New York said the
bank and the U.S. Justice Department were in the process of
seeking court approval of a deferred prosecution agreement over
U.S. dollar payments “involving countries, persons and entities
subject to U.S. economic sanctions.”

“Because this matter is pending before the court, at this
time we will have no further comment,” he said.

SIMILAR CASES

The Barclays case marked the latest in a series brought by
U.S. prosecutors against major banks.

In December, prosecutors detailed a decades-long scheme by
Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN.VX: ) (CS.N: ) to hide thousands of
transactions on behalf of clients in Iran, Sudan, Libya and
other nations. The Swiss bank agreed to pay $538 million.

Also last year in a similar case, Lloyds TSB (LLOY.L: )
agreed to forfeit $350 million over charges that it faked
records so clients from Iran, Sudan and elsewhere could do
business in the U.S. banking system.

In March, U.S. authorities said Wachovia Bank, now a unit
of Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N: ), agreed to pay $160 million to
settle U.S. charges that it failed to stop more than $100
million of Colombian and Mexican drug traffickers’ money being
laundered through accounts at the bank.

Barclays has agreed to pay $149 million to the U.S.
government and a separate $149 million in a deferred
prosecution agreement with the district attorney in New York,
according to the documents.

Barclays and U.S. prosecutors entered into a deferred
prosecution agreement that lasts 24 months. A federal judge
must approve the agreement. Should Barclays comply with the
terms, the charges would be dismissed in two years.

Barclays voluntarily disclosed some of the prohibited
transactions to U.S. authorities, agreed to cooperate fully and
conducted an internal investigation, according to the documents
filed in federal court in Washington, D.C.

According to the documents, Barclays interviewed more than
175 current and former employees and reviewed more than 100
million records during its review, and has acknowledged
responsibility for its actions.

A federal judge in Washington held a hearing on the
agreement, but delayed approving it because the Barclays
official who signed it was not present in court, a Justice
Department spokeswoman said.

She said it was not known when the hearing would be held,
but it likely would be later this week.
(Additional reporting by Maria Aspan in New York; Editing by
Lisa Von Ahn and Gerald E. McCormick)

UPDATE 3-Barclays to pay $298 million in U.S. sanctions case