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Vol 51 No 4

Published 19th February 2010

Beating up the bankers

A Congressional probe shows how banks in the USA welcomed stolen funds from Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Nigeria

Among the offending banks named in a new Congressional report on money laundering and corruption are HSBC Holdings, Europe’s largest bank, and Bank of America. They are accused of failing to scrutinise suspect accounts. HSBC is to be referred to the US bank regulators for facilitating transfers of funds from Angola which other banks had rejected as suspect. Bank of America was criticised for opening an account for the now-convicted arms dealer Pierre Falcone, who helped to break United Nations’ sanctions on Angola. An HSBC official said the bank feared opening branches in Africa because the ‘reputational risks’ were too high.

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