HSBC, Standard Chartered allegedly transferred large sums of illicit money over 2 decades with no idea where the money came from: report

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HONG KONG – Shares of Standard Chartered’s HSBC HSBA.L and STAN.L Hong Kong fell on Monday after media reported that they and other banks had transferred large sums of allegedly illicit funds during nearly two decades, despite red flags about the origin of the money.

BuzzFeed and other media reports were based on Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) filed by banks and other financial companies with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCen) of the US Department of the Treasury.

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HSBC Hong Kong stock 0005.HK fell 4.4% to HK $ 29.60, the lowest since May 1995, while StanChart 2888.HK fell 3.8% to HK $ 35.80 , the lowest since May 25 of this year. The Hang Seng .HSI index fell 0.4%.

HSBC’s headquarters are seen in the central financial district of Hong Kong, China on September 6, 2017. REUTERS / Bobby Yip

The SARs, which were reported to number over 2,100, were obtained by BuzzFeed News and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and other media organizations.

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

In a statement to Reuters on Sunday, HSBC said “all information provided by the ICIJ is historical”. The bank said from 2012, “HSBC has embarked on a multi-year journey to review its ability to fight financial crime in more than 60 jurisdictions.

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Standard Chartered said in a statement, “We take our responsibility to fight financial crime very seriously and have made significant investments in our compliance programs.”

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