South Africa graft scandal: HSBC accused of 'possible criminal complicity'

Lord Hain sent Chancellor printouts of HSBC transactions involving Gupta family

Just days after the UK Chancellor asked financial enforcement agencies to inquire if British banks may have ‘inadvertently’ been involved in money laundering, it has now emerged that the bank accused of “possible criminal complicity” in the scandal is HSBC.

However, as HSBC did not have the relevant foreign exchange licences, Nedbank and Standard Bank in South Africa were reportedly allegedly used as intermediaries.

Read related story: UK Chancellor asks for scrutiny of HSBC and StanChart for possible links

Speaking in the House of Lords, Lord Hain said he had handed new evidence to the chancellor about the alleged involvement of a British bank in the “flagrant robbery” of South African taxpayers. While Hain did not mention the name the bank in the Lords, he did mention the name of the bank, as HSBC, in a letter to the Philip Hammond.

Hain had reportedly sent Hammond printouts of HSBC transactions involving the controversial Gupta family and said that the bank had “aided and abetted” money-laundering.

The Gupta family is at the heart of this scandal over allegations that they used their friendship with South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma to influence state business and to divert funds from state-owned companies. The Guptas and Zuma both deny any wrongdoing and say they are victims of a “politically motivated witch-hunt”.

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