What's Important in the Financial World (8/15/2012)


Standard Chartered has paid the New York Department of Financial Services $340 million to settle charges that it helped Iran interests launder money. Unfortunately for the financial firm, this settlement is only the tip of the iceberg. Standard Chartered will face a series of related charges in both the United States, where federal officials have begun to examine the money laundering charges, and in the United Kingdom. BusinessWeek reports:

The cost of settling with all the regulators may be about $700 million, Cormac Leech, an analyst at Liberum Capital wrote in a note to investors today.

But that is only one man's guess. One settlement with a single state could set a precedent that would allow for much larger penalties at the federal level. With some of the bank's core franchises and profit centers at risk, Standard Chartered likely would pay massive fines, if it can avoid a long legal battle or decisions by governments that would keep it out of some markets.

Nokia to Launch Windows Phone

Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), which is barely alive in the smartphone sector, claims that the fruits of its large partnership with Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) are about to arrive. The marriage was meant to get Windows Mobile onto millions of handsets. The process has taken longer than expected. In the meantime, Microsoft has done distribution deals with other firms, including Barnes & Noble Inc. (NYSE: BKS), and has announced it will release its own portable wireless device - Surface. Reuters reports that Nokia likely will announce its Windows-powered smartphone at a developer conference on September 5 or 6. The news service says this will put is ahead of the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhone 5 release. As if that really matters.

Samsung Strikes Back

After Samsung took a beating from Apple at a trial in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California, it is Samsung's turn to strike back. Apple has asked for $2.5 billion in damages over claims that Samsung copied many of the features of the iPhone and iPad so that it could increase the popularity of its own tablets and smartphones. Samsung witnesses have started to explain that they came up with the features of their machines without any concern about Apple's flagship products. Reuters reports:

Samsung called designer Jeeyuen Wang, who said she and a large Korean team worked hard for three months to create Samsung's own icon designs for Galaxy S phones.

With so much money at stake, who would have expected Samsung to take any other position?

Douglas A. McIntyre

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Market Open Tagged: AAPL, BKS, featured, MSFT, NOK