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HSBC closes some accounts for companies associated with Guptas

HSBC on Friday said it had no direct business ties with the family but has 'closed a number of accounts for associated front companies'.

FILE: A HSBC bank logo is seen on a sign outside a branch of the bank in London on 22 October 2015. Picture: AFP.

LONDON - HSBC has closed some accounts for companies associated with South Africa’s Gupta brothers as it investigates its own possible ties to the business friends of President Jacob Zuma who have been accused of corruption by politicians in the country.

HSBC on Friday said it had no direct business ties with the family but has “closed a number of accounts for associated front companies” wherever it has found such accounts.

“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,” a spokeswoman for HSBC said.

Regulators in the US and Britain are investigating banks’ ties to the escalating graft probe in South Africa.

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