It is the first time a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) has been used in the UK.
The bank found evidence of wrongdoing and in April 2013 alerted the Serious Fraud Office, which carried out its own investigation.
By using a DPA, ICBC Standard Bank avoided the expense and time of a lengthy court process, instead only seeing a judge in the final stages of the negotiations.
The judge decided the bank should pay a fine of twice the $8.4m revenues the bank made from the deal plus the revenues themselves as a fine to the SFO, as well as $7m to the Tanzanian authorities, and the SFO’s £330,000 costs. In total, the amount paid comes to $32.5m.
Standard Bank is also paying the Securities and Exchanges Commission, the US financial regulator, $4.2m for a separate conduct problem.
The bank said it was unaware that the bribe was being given at the time it was made, and that it has taken steps to ensure such wrongdoing does not reoccur.
“The bank takes the risk of corruption very seriously and deeply regrets that this issue arose on a transaction with which it was involved. The SFO has not made any allegations that anyone within the Bank knew of the intentions of the two Stanbic employees,” ICBC Standard Bank said.
“The bank is confident that the circumstances giving rise to the DPA were an isolated incident relating to one transaction, to which the Bank has responded appropriately. The Bank has never been the subject of any other criminal investigation by the SFO.”
The DPA will stay in place for the next three years and is then withdrawn, with no further chance of prosecution in relation to this case, as long as the SFO is satisfied the bank was honest in the investigation.
Prosecutors say such deferred prosecutions are likely to be more prevalent in the near future.
“This landmark DPA will serve as a template for future agreements,” said the SFO’s director David Green.
“It also endorses the SFO’s contention that the DPA in this case was in the interests of justice and its terms fair, reasonable and proportionate. I applaud Standard Bank for their frankness with the SFO and their prompt and early engagement with us.”