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Argentina Slams 30-Day Suspension on HSBC Transfers
World Economy

Argentina Slams 30-Day Suspension on HSBC Transfers

British bank HSBC, charged with helping more than 4,000 Argentines commit tax evasion, will not be able to transfer Argentine funds abroad for 30 days, under a decision announced.
In November, Argentina’s tax agency, AFIP, charged HSBC with helping 4,040 Argentines avoid paying taxes by stashing money in secret Swiss accounts on their behalf, AFP reported.
The Argentine Central Bank “decided to temporarily suspend money and asset transfer operations abroad from HSBC Bank Argentina accounts for 30 days,” it said in a statement.
AFIP reported that it has identified nearly all 4,040 account holders and says the fraudulent operations were overseen by HSBC representatives in Argentina, the United States and Switzerland.
The central bank added that the sanction could be reduced if HSBC complies with Buenos Aires.
The charges are the latest woes for the banking giant, after ex-employee Herve Falciani leaked data to French authorities on thousands of HSBC customers, saying he wanted to expose tax fraud.
The leak sent shockwaves through the world of Swiss banking, long valued by wealthy individuals for its stability and tradition of banking secrecy.
  $1.9b US Fine
In early last December, HSBC Holdings Plc agreed to pay a record $1.92 billion in fines to US authorities for allowing itself to be used to launder a river of drug money flowing out of Mexico and other banking lapses.
Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel and Colombia’s Norte del Valle cartel between them laundered $881 million through HSBC and a Mexican unit, the US Justice Department said.
In a deferred prosecution agreement with the Justice Department, the bank acknowledged it failed to maintain an effective program against money laundering and failed to conduct basic due diligence on some of its account holders.
Under the agreement, which was reported by Reuters, the bank agreed to take steps to fix the problems, forfeit $1.256 billion, and retain a compliance monitor. The bank also agreed to pay $665 million in civil penalties to regulators including to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve, and the Treasury Department.
“We accept responsibility for our past mistakes. We have said we are profoundly sorry for them, and we do so again. The HSBC of today is a fundamentally different organization from the one that made those mistakes,” HSBC Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver said.

 

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