Banks dive after money laundering investigation

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Banks dive after money laundering investigation


An investigation based on thousands of “suspicious activity reports” shows that astronomical amounts of dirty money have passed through the world’s largest banking institutions for years.


Swiss banks are not spared by the stock market storm.


© KEYSTONE
Swiss banks are not spared by the stock market storm.


HSBC, Deutsche Bank, ING… These big names in finance were badly handled on the stock market Monday, after the revelations of a consortium of journalists who accuse these banking giants of having allowed large-scale laundering of dirty money.

In Frankfurt, Deutsche Bank plunged 7.86% to 7.93 euros around 1:20 p.m. (11:20 GMT) after the publication of this survey targeting it. Standard Chartered, also under the spotlight, dropped 5.15% to 340.90 pence in London.

In Switzerland, UBS shares fell 4.9% to 10.45 francs and the registered Credit Suisse fell 4% to 9.40 francs.

In Hong Kong, HSBC stock hit its lowest level in 25 years, closing down 5.33% to HKD 29.30. Besides the fact that the group was cited by the investigation of the consortium of journalists, it could face sanctions from Beijing as part of retaliatory measures against certain foreign countries.

Also cited in the case, the ING bank plunged 8.35% in Amsterdam. According to reports from the Dutch press, the bank’s subsidiary in Poland has helped clients send suspicious funds outside of Russia for years.

In its survey carried out by 108 international media from 88 countries, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), denounces the deficiencies in the regulation of the sector.

Dirty money

“Profits from the murderous drug wars, the embezzled fortunes of developing countries and the hard-earned economies stolen as part of a Ponzi scheme have all been able to get in and out of these financial institutions, despite warnings from their own employees. banks ”, details the investigation.

The investigation is based on thousands of “suspicious activity reports” (SAR) made to the US Treasury’s financial police, FinCen, by banks around the world, but “kept out of public view. “. According to the ICIJ, astronomical amounts of dirty money have passed through the world’s largest banking institutions for years.

These documents relate to 2000 billion dollars of transactions, between 1999 and 2017. It would be about money coming from drugs and criminal acts or even misappropriated fortunes of developing countries.

The investigation points in particular to five major banks – JP Morgan Chase, HSBC, Standard Chartered, Deutsche Bank, and Bank of New York Mellon – accused of having continued to transit funds from suspected criminals, even after being prosecuted or convicted for financial misconduct.

HSBC defended itself by responding to reporters that it had always complied with its legal obligations on reporting suspicious activity.

In a statement, she presents the ICIJ’s accusations as old and predating an agreement reached on the subject in 2012 with the US Department of Justice. The bank says it has since revised its ability to fight financial crime in more than 60 jurisdictions, presenting itself as “a much safer institution than it was in 2012”.

In a statement, Deutsche Bank assured that the Consortium’s revelations were in fact information “well known” to its regulators and said it “devoted significant resources to strengthening its controls” and “being extremely careful to comply with ( its) responsibilities and (its) obligations ”.

ING for its part affirmed that it had ceased its relationship in 2018 with one of the incriminated companies for having collaborated with its Polish subsidiary, and that it was preparing to do the same with the second.

The shock wave of this publication was also echoing in France and the banks were among the biggest drops of the day, during an already very nervous session due to fears around the worsening of the Covid-19 pandemic.

On the Paris Bourse which itself fell by 3.32%, Societe Generale fell 5.73% to 11.91 euros, Crédit Agricole from 5.36% to 7.66 euros and BNP Paribas from 5.97 to 32.53 euros.

The banking sector on EuroStoxx 50 lost 5.84%.

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