HSBC warned it could be bombarded by legal claims after leaked files indicate bank allowed criminals to launder money
HSBC has been warned it could be bombarded with legal claims after leaked files revealed the bank had allowed criminals to launder money.
Shares in the bank were in depth not seen in 25 years, after a cache of files released on Sunday night seemed to show that the money had continued to move into shady networks even after raising alarms about suspect transactions.
Lawyers warn that the revelations could open HSBC to legal action from shareholders lost when the stock tumbled, and victims of fraud who believe the bank should have acted faster.
Dirty Money: Lawyers warn the revelations could open HSBC to legal action from shareholders and fraud victims
Sam Tate, white-collar crime chief at RPC law firm, said, “This leak could spark a wave of legal claims against UK banks by the victims of fraud and Ponzi schemes.”
The documents were submitted by banks to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network of the United States Treasury between 2000 and 2017. They contain more than 2,100 suspicious activity reports (SARs) that banks are required to fill out if they believe their customers are not doing anything good.
If lenders have evidence of criminal activity, they should stop moving cash and freeze or close accounts. But the files indicate that they didn’t.
Barclays also suffered after the documents revealed it may have laundered money for sanctioned Russian billionaire Arkady Rotenberg, a close friend of President Putin.
HSBC said, “Starting in 2012, HSBC embarked on a multi-year journey to review its ability to fight financial crime in more than 60 jurisdictions.”
Barclays said, “We believe we have met all of our legal and regulatory obligations.”