HSBC, Standard Chartered face UK probe over Gupta ties
South African-born Peter Hain says the banks may inadvertently have been conduits for laundered money.
JOHANNESBURG - Tipped off by former anti-apartheid activist and Labour Party Minister Peter Hain, Britain’s financial regulators and the Serious Fraud Office are probing whether the giant HSBC and Standard Chartered banks are linked to the Gupta scandal in South Africa.
South African-born Hain says the banks may inadvertently have been conduits for laundered money.
Lord Hain has told the House of Lords that up to £400 million of illicit funds may have been moved by HSBC and Standard Chartered.
He says he’s concerned about links between President Jacob Zuma and the Guptas.
The peer has written to the Chancellor Philip Hammond, telling him a whistle-blower has indicated the banks may inadvertently have been conduits for the corrupt proceeds of money.
His letter names 27 people and companies.
Lord Hain says the whistle-blowers who’ve briefed him on dodgy dealings involving the Guptas say they’re certain that major banks are implicated in money laundering.
He says he’s met South Africans from all over who’ve simply had enough.
“I’ve had a chance to meet people in South Africa who are desperately angry about the way billions are being robbed from taxpayers.”
He says whistle-blowers have singled out three major banks.
“The whistle-blowers are absolutely convinced that the HSBC and Standard Charter are the principal ones.”
Earlier on Thursday, it emerged the FBI has opened an investigation into US links to the Guptas, escalating a scandal over the family’s alleged use of its friendship with President Zuma to control state businesses.
(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)