HSBC Has Been Accused of Ignoring Money Laundering in an Epic Corruption Scandal

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November 2, 2017

The British banking giant HSBC (HSBC, -0.04%) chose to ignore money laundering by the Indian-South African Gupta family through its services, a British peer has claimed.  Peter Hain, who grew up in South Africa and was a high-profile anti-apartheid activist, on Tuesday sent the U.K. Treasury and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) printouts of the Guptas’ money transfers from their South African HSBC bank accounts to accounts with the same bank in Dubai and Hong Kong. Some of the transactions were legitimate, but others weren’t, he said.

As Hain put it in a Wednesday speech in the House of Lords: “The latter illicit transactions were flagged internally in the bank concerned as suspicious, but I am reliably informed that it was told by the U.K. headquarters to ignore it. That is an iniquitous breach of legal banking practice in the U.K.…and it is also an incitement to money laundering, which has self-evidently occurred in this case, sanctioned by a British bank, as part of the flagrant robbery from South African taxpayers of many millions of pounds and many billions of their local currency, the rand.”