UANI Calls on SWIFT’s Board of Directors to Take Action to End SWIFT’s Relationships with Iranian Financial Institutions

February 7, 2012
Contact: Nathan Carleton, [email protected]
Phone: (212) 554-3296

UANI Calls on SWIFT's Board of Directors to Take Action to End SWIFT's Relationships with Iranian Financial Institutions

New York, NY -On Tuesday, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) called on SWIFT's Board of Directors to take immediate action, to put SWIFT in compliance with U.S. and EU Iran sanctions law and its own corporate rules by ending SWIFT's relationships with Iranian banks and financial institutions.

Last week, UANI submitted a detailed legal explanation to the Board's Chairman, Yawar Shah, explaining how SWIFT violates U.S. and EU sanctions--as well as SWIFT's own bylaws--by providing sanctioned Iranian banks with BICs and access to the SWIFT system.

Immediately after UANI sent its letter to SWIFT, members of the U.S. Senate drafted and introduced an amendment that would sanction SWIFT. SWIFT, after initially defending its work with Iran, subsequently pledged to "find the right multilateral legal framework which will enable SWIFT to address the issues."

UANI is now calling on SWIFT's Board of Directors to act, by ending SWIFT's relationships with Iranian banks and financial institutions.

In separate letters to SWIFT's board members, sent last week along with a copy of UANI's original letter to Chairman Shah, UANI President, Ambassador Mark D. Wallace, wrote:

As a Board Member of SWIFT, we urge you to take immediate action to ensure SWIFT's compliance with applicable U.S. and EU sanction law and to ensure that SWIFT complies with its own rules related to corporate governance and membership eligibility.

We have no doubt that you have not sought to oversee an institution that has been an enabling financial mechanism for the Iranian regime to pursue an illicit nuclear weapons program, support terrorist activities, and to engage in brutal human rights abuses. In recent months, however, the world has united in an effort to economically isolate the Iranian regime and to sanction its key industries. SWIFT must join that movement or risk continuing to run afoul of applicable sanctions law. Moreover, SWIFT jeopardizes its good reputation if it continues its work with Iran's financial institutions.

UANI's letter was sent to the following members of SWIFT's Board of Directors:

Stephen Zimmerman: Chief Operating Officer of the Wealth Management Division, UBS

Guy Beniada: Chief Financial Officer and Managing Director, ING

Udo Braun: Group Markets Operations, Commerzbank

Fabrice Denele: Head of Payments, BPCE

John Ellington: Director, Retail Banking Operations, The Royal Bank of Scotland

Giorgio Ferrero: Head of Payment Systems Strategy and Development, Intesa Sanpaolo

Goran Fors: Global Head of Custody Services, SEB

Wolfgang Gaertner: Chief Information Officer, Deutsche Bank AG

Gunther Gall: Head of Transactions Services Division, Raiffeisenbank International AG

Alan Goldstein: Managing Director, Worldwide Securities Services, J.P. Morgan

Rob Green: Chief Risk Officer, Global Transaction Services, Corporate and Investment Banking, FirstRand Bank Limited

Finn Otto Hansen: Clearing and Settlement Strategies, DnB NOR Bank ASA

Gerard Hartsink: Senior Advisor to the ABN AMRO Board, ABN AMRO Bank

Yumesaku Ishigaki: General Manager, Transaction Services Division, the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ

John Laurens: Head of Global Payments and Cash Management, Asia-Pacific, HSBC

Yves Maas: Head of International Operations, Credit Suisse

Lynn Matthews: Chairman of the Australian National Member Group

Godelieve Mostrey: Executive Director and Chief Technology and Services Officer, Euroclear

Pochet Alain: Head of Clearing, Custody and Corporate Trust Services, BNP Paribas

Javier Santamaria: Head of Finance Systems and Forums, Deputy General Manager, Banco Santander

Jeffrey Tessler: Chief Executive Officer of Clearstream International, S.A.

Marcus Treacher: Head of e-Commerce and Client Experience, Global Transaction Banking, HSBC

Ingrid Versnel: Head, Wealth Management and Payments, Operations and Technology, Royal Bank of Canada

Jee Hong Yee-Tang: Technology Advisor to ABS

Click here to read UANI's full letter to SWIFT.
Click here to read UANI's letter to individual members the Board of Directors.
Click here to send a message to SWIFT.