NEWS

HSBC Shuts Gupta-Linked Bank Accounts

The global banking giant says it has "closed a number of accounts for associated front companies wherever we have found them".

11/11/2017 08:22 SAST | Updated 11/11/2017 15:04 SAST
Bobby Yip / Reuters
HSBC headquarters is seen at the financial Central district in Hong Kong, China September 6, 2017.

Banking giant HSBC on Friday announced it has closed a number of accounts for alleged front companies linked to the Guptas.

HSBC said it "has been reviewing its exposure to the Guptas for some time, and has closed a number of accounts for associated front companies wherever we have found them", according to Reuters.

According to Fin24, the announcement follows a Wall Street Journal report revealing how the Guptas had used HSBC bank accounts based in Dubai to transfer money to firms linked to suspected kickbacks for the sale of Chinese locomotives four years ago.

This is inherently challenging because those who seek to launder money are often extremely sophisticated, hiding behind legitimate companies, layers of front companies, connected parties and individuals that have controlling interests in the subject companies.HSBC Spokeswoman to Reuters

'Evidence of Gupta money-laundering'

Earlier in November, anti-apartheid activist and British member of the House of Lords, Lord Peter Hain, told the House of Lords in the U.K. that he has evidence of illegal transactions between the Guptas and a London bank, later revealed as HSBC.

Eyewitness News (EWN) reported that Hain requested that the evidence be given to Britain's authorities.

READ: Hain Has 'Evidence' Bank Helped Guptas Launder Money

"I have delivered by hand last night to the chancellor printed out transactions and named the British bank concerned and asked again that he refer these to the serious fraud office, the national crime agency and the financial conduct authority for investigation. This information shows illegal transfers of funds from South Africa, made by the Gupta family over the last few years from their South African accounts to accounts held in Hong Kong," said Hain.

Regulators in the U.S. and Britain are reportedly investigating banks' ties to the escalating graft probe in largely centred around the Gupta family in South Africa.