HSBC’s shares in Hong Kong and Standard Chartered’s (StanChart) in London fell on Monday to their lowest levels since 1998 following media reports that they and other banks, including Barclays and Deutsche Bank, moved large sums of allegedly illicit funds over nearly two decades despite red flags about the origins of the money, according to Reuters
(21 September, John, Chatterjee, White). Reports of the banks' alleged misconduct came after the leak of more than 2,100 suspicious activity reports (SARs), which were originally filed with the US Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. The SARs, which contain information about US$2 trillion in potentially suspicious transactions, do not automatically prove wrongdoing. After the leak of the documents, HSBC shares in London fell five percent to 288 pence, the lowest intraday level since 2009, and the lender's shares in Hong Kong plummeted to a 25-year low. StanChart's shares, meanwhile, dropped 4.6 percent in London to its lowest level since 1998. Both HSBC and StanChart issued statements about the SARs, touting their programs and policies to prevent and fight financial crime. Both HSBC and StanChart have in recent years paid billions of dollars in fines for violating US sanctions on Iran and other anti-money laundering rules.
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