SWIFT Hires Lobbyists and Handles Iran Sanctions

Headquartered in Belgium, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) provides two types of services for their clients. One, SWIFT allows customers to securely connect and exchange confidential financial information via a propriety communications platform. Two, it provides a hub to bring members of the financial community together to collaborate on practices, standards and solutions.

SWIFT has not gone unnoticed.  In January 2012, the US Senate Banking Committee approved anti-Iran sanctions that focused on SWIFT.  Iranian banks relied on SWIFT to communicate with one another. Without SWIFT, the Iranian banks would be left without means to access the billions of dollars of revenue from sources abroad. While SWIFT denied it was acting illegally, in March 2012 the network disconnected all Iranian banks from its network.

SWIFT has recently registered lobbyists to represent the company, here is a look at who they are and what they are doing.

Highlights

  • Began hiring lobbyists in 2012
  • Paid 2 firms $290,000 for lobbying in Q1 2012
  • Firms: Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP  and Apco Worldwide Inc.

Lobbyists

  • Blanche Petre is SWIFT’s General Counsel (appointed in 1998) and Board Secretary (appointed in 2000). She is also a practicing lawyer in Belgium.
  • Natasha de Teran joined SWIFT in February 2012. Formerly a lobbyist with LCH. Clearnet Group Limited, where she lobbied on financial issues.

Legislation Lobbied

  • 112 H.R.3880:  To require the imposition of sanctions on foreign financial institutions that are members of an entity that provides services relating to secure communications, electronic funds transfers, or cable transfers to the Central Bank of Iran or sanctioned financial institutions.
  • 112 H.R.4179:  Iran Financial Sanctions Improvement Act of 2012
  • 112 S.2101: 112 S.2101: Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Human Rights Act of 2012

Issues Lobbied

  • Banking: H.R. 3880, Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Human Rights Act of 2012, S. 2101, Syria Human Rights Accountability Act of 2012, and H.R. 4179, Iran Financial Sanctions Improvement Act of 2012, all provisions relating to bank operations. Utilization of legal entity identifiers for swap data repositories in Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act; S. 2101, Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Human Rights Act of 2012 – U.S. sanctions related to the provision of financial telecommunications services; H.R. 3880, To require the imposition of sanctions on foreign financial institutions that are members of an entity that provides services relating to secure communications, electronic funds transfers, or cable transfers to the Central Bank of Iran
  • Financial Institutions/Investments/Securities: H.R. 3880, Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Human Rights Act of 2012, S. 2101, Syria Human Rights Accountability Act of 2012, and H.R. 4179, Iran Financial Sanctions Improvement Act of 2012, all provisions relating to bank operations. Utilization of legal entity identifiers for swap data repositories in Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
  • Foreign Relations: H.R. 3880, Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Human Rights Act of 2012, S. 2101, Syria Human Rights Accountability Act of 2012, and H.R. 4179, Iran Financial Sanctions Improvement Act of 2012, all provisions relating to bank operations. Utilization of legal entity identifiers for swap data repositories in Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act

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