TI Seeks Criminal Prosecution Of HSBC For Money Laundering, Others

Transparency International wants the United Kingdom authorities to begin criminal investigations of HSBC’s private bank, in the light of recent allegations of facilitating money laundering and arms dealing.
TI noted that there are a number of cases relating to money laundering and tax evasion, criminal investigations against HSBC initiated in Argentine, Brazilian, Swiss and United States authorities. However, there has been no such investigation in the UK, where HSBC is headquartered and is the country’s biggest bank as measured by assets.
The statement expressed surprise while Swiss authorities have acted, those in the UK have not, following which it called for cooperation between the Swiss and UK authorities.
HSBC’s private bank, according to a statement Sunday night by TI, alleged facilitated money laundering and earned big profits handling secret accounts for arms dealers, dictators and blood diamond traffickers, citing material released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
“Multiple news outlets have shown how HSBC went out of its way to maintain bank accounts for well-known criminals and other corrupt people. The Swiss have acted on the available evidence: we do not see any reason why a criminal investigation should not also be immediately initiated by UK authorities,” said José Ugaz, chair of Transparency International.
Although it said HSBC has made progress in its anti-corruption procedures in the past two years, TI urged the management to prove its commitment by fully cooperating in any investigation and prosecution.
“The UK authorities must make a bold move against the corruption and abuse of the global banking system by the banks that they are responsible for regulating. HSBC is not the first bank to face such serious accusations, nor will it be the last, but it is imperative a strong message be sent that corruption is unacceptable in the banking sector and the ongoing string of scandals must be stopped.”
Continuing, TI said financial integrity is fundamental to the well-being of the global economy, lamenting “that bankers and regulators have so far failed to demonstrate that they understand this simple fact and it is time they did so.”