Transparency International calls for criminal investigation of HSBC by UK authorities

Issued by Transparency International Secretariat



Transparency International today called on authorities in the United Kingdom to begin a criminal investigation into HSBC in light of recent accusations against the bank.

HSBC’s private bank has been accused of facilitating money laundering and earned big profits handling secret accounts for arms dealers, dictators and blood diamond traffickers, according to 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. 

In recent years, in a number of cases relating to money laundering and tax evasion, criminal investigations into HSBC have been initiated by 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 Swiss authorities have acted and it is surprising that those in the UK have not. Transparency International urges cooperation between the Swiss and UK authorities.

HSBC has made progress in its anti-corruption procedures in the past two years; to prove its commitment, Transparency International would expect full cooperation from the company in any investigation and prosecution.

The HSBC affair is the latest in a long line of banking scandals, most of which have resulted in penalties that have not demonstrably changed behaviour or culture. The recent ruling to imprison bankers in Iceland resulting from the 2008 financial crisis has been a rare example of individuals being held responsible.  

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.

Financial integrity is fundamental to the well-being of the global economy. Bankers and regulators have so far failed to demonstrate that they understand this simple fact and it is time they did so.


For any press enquiries please contact

Chris Sanders
Tel: +49 30 34 38 20 666
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Latest

Support Transparency International

Support Us

New Report: Who is behind the wheel? Fixing the global standards on company ownership

To counter crime and corruption, law enforcement authorities around the world need to be able to swiftly uncover the identities of the real owners of companies. Transparency International argues that public registers of beneficial ownership should be the norm.

Transparency International Amalia Award

The TI Amalia Award recognises and celebrates professional excellence and impact by the anti-corruption fighters from the Transparency International movement.

هل سيشعل الفساد المستشري فتيل الخريف العربي؟

خلال الشهرين الماضيين، اجتاحت موجة من الاحتجاجات شوارع مصر والعراق ولبنان. وبلغ عدد المحتجين الذين نزلوا إلى الشوارع في لبنان أكثر من مليون شخص ينددون بالظلم، وكان ذلك غالبا في تحدّ للقمع العنيف الذي تمارسه السلطات. وعلى الرغم من اختلاف المطالب التي نادى بها المحتجون في البلدان الثلاثة، بل تختلف حتى فيما بين الحركات في نفس البلد، إلا أن هذا الغضب العارم قام على قاسم مشترك بينها: الفساد وسوء الإدارة المالية للحكومات.

Will rampant corruption spark an Arab Autumn?

A common factor has underpinned mass protests in Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon over the past two months: outrage over corruption and financial mismanagement by governments.

Better blending: how the World Bank can promote transparency in financing sustainable development

As the World Bank holds its annual meetings in Washington D.C this week, Transparency International is calling for greater transparency, accountability and participation in the World Bank’s contribution to financing the 2030 Agenda.

Fighting corruption in the age of “fake news”

"Fake news" has become a major threat to public trust in democracy and news media outlets over the past years. The fight against corruption is also affected.

Right to information: a tool for people power

Globally, approximately 120 countries have right to information laws. In some countries, these laws are top notch, but in others, the laws either don’t exist or need significant improvements. On International Right to Know Day, citizens are speaking out around the world to demand greater accountability from government. But are most people even aware of their right to request information in the first place?

Global Corruption Barometer - Latin America and the Caribbean 2019

The Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) – Latin America & Caribbean highlights the disproportionate effect that corruption has on women and a significant lack of political integrity among government leaders.

Social Media

Follow us on Social Media