LONDON – HSBC has reported itself to Australian financial regulators for possible violations of anti-money laundering rules, the bank disclosed in the filing of regulations by its Australian subsidiary.
The breach involved a small number of cross-border foreign currency transactions involving non-banking financial institutions that could not be reported by banks headquartered in London for technical reasons, HSBC said.
The 2019 annual report of a subsidiary of HSBC Australia says it has marked potential violations of AUSTRAC, a government body that fights money laundering and financial crime.
“… regulators and other bodies can make findings that banks have committed violations, including violations of laws or behaviors that are below the standards and expectations of the public,” HSBC said.
A HSBC spokesman in Hong Kong said the bank would not comment further on its involvement with regulators.
HSBC paid a $ 1.9 billion fine and signed a five-year prosecution agreement with US authorities in 2012 for failing to prevent Mexican drug cartels from laundering hundreds of millions of dollars.
Since then the bank has invested billions of dollars into internal control, employed thousands of compliance staff and hired independent monitors at the request of regulators to check its progress in improving its system to prevent more violations.
(Reporting by Sumeet Chatterjee in Hong Kong and Lawrence White in London. Editing by Jane Merriman)
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