FinCEN report: HSBC shares drop to lowest level since 1995

Clay Curtis
September 21, 2020

The allegations, made by US news outlet BuzzFeed News in collaboration with global news organizations including the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, are based on leaked documents relating to more than $2 trillion of transactions mostly between 2011 and 2017.

The investigation, which was led by 108 global media outlets from 88 different countries, is based on thousands of suspicious activity reports (SARs) submitted to the US Treasury Department's financial law enforcement agency, FinCEN, by banks from around the world.

HSBC said in a statement: "All of the information provided by the ICIJ is historical".

Shares of HSBC were reported trading about 3.6% down on Monday to hit the level last seen in 1998 throughout the Asian currency crisis. Fergus Shiel, of the ICIJ, told the BBC the FinCEN papers are an "insight into what banks know about the vast flows of dirty money across the globe..."

Mumbai, Sep 21 (IANS) Shares of HSBC and Standard Chartered in Hong Kong plummeted almost 3 per cent on Monday morning after reports suggested that they along with other banks allegedly moved large sums of illicit funds for almost two decades.

The FTSE 100 marked its worst day in more than three months on Monday as HSBC and Standard Chartered slid on reports the banks were among those that moved allegedly illicit funds, while travel stocks plummeted on fears of more coronavirus-related lockdowns.

London-headquartered HSBC and StanChart, among other global banks, have paid billions of dollars in fines in recent years for violating USA sanctions on Iran and anti-money laundering rules.

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The leak focuses on more than 2,657 documents, at the heart of which are 2,100 suspicious activity reports (SARs) filed with the U.S. government's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). The report cited confidential documents filed by the bank to the U.S. government. The bank said as of 2012, "HSBC embarked on a multi-year journey to overhaul its ability to combat financial crime across more than 60 jurisdictions".

Meanwhile, Standard Chartered said in a statement that "in reality there will always be an attempt to launder money and evade sanctions", and "the responsibility for the fight against financial crime is extremely serious".

HSBC and StanChart were among the five banks that appeared most often in the documents, the ICIJ reported.

Banks and other financial institutions file SARs when they have a hunch that a client is using their services for some criminal activity or money laundering.

Staff at major banks often used Google searches to learn who was behind large transactions, it said.

SARS are documents written by internal officers at the banks and sent to FinCEN and do not, in themselves, indicate wrongdoing.

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