FTSE 100 falls as StanChart, HSBC slide on 'FinCEN' report

Andrew Cummings
September 21, 2020

BuzzFeed and other media reports were based on leaked suspicious activity reports (SARs) filed by banks and other financial firms with the US Department of Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCen).

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.

Shares in HSBC fell 4% to 291.9p and Standard Chartered dropped 3.9% to 345.6p.

"These documents, compiled by banks, shared with the government, but kept from public view, expose the hollowness of banking safeguards, and the ease with which criminals have exploited them", wrote United States outlet Buzzfeed News, in the introduction of its report.

Among other individual stocks, Britain's Rolls-Royce Holdings slumped 9.6% after the aero-engine maker said it was looking to raise up to 2.5 billion pounds ($3.2 billion) in an effort to strengthen its balance sheet.

BuzzFeed News said that it received over 2,100 SARs in total that were in turn shared with ICIJ (International Consortium of Investigative Journalists) and several other media organisations.

The Hang Seng Index was down 0.4 per cent.

In a statement today, Standard Chartered said "there will always be attempts to launder money and evade sanctions".

HSBC, the bank at the centre of the scandal, saw its share price fall more than 5% in London, but the revelations dragged down the entire sector, with Barclays, Lloyds and NatWest all dropping about 6%.

The SARs showed that banks often moved funds for companies that were registered in offshore havens, such as the British Virgin Islands, and did not know the ultimate owner of the account, the report said.

HSBC said the leaked documents related to historical events.

FinCen said in a statement on its website on September 1 that it was aware that various media outlets meant to publish a series of articles based on unlawfully disclosed SARs, as well as other documents. In 2012, HSBC introduced stringent measures to uplift its ability to minimise financial crimes.

"The bank took its responsibility to fight financial crime extremely seriously and have invested substantially in its compliance programmes".

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