AFP, 22 July 2012
London: A scandal erupting at Europe’s biggest bank HSBC has added to concerns over the state of Britain’s financial sector amid the Barclays rate rigging affair and as the industry faces a major shake-up.
HSBC last week apologised and its head of compliance David Bagley resigned after US lawmakers accused the London-based bank of failing to apply anti-laundering rules, benefitting Iran, terrorists and drug dealers.
The HSBC affair follows hot on the heels of the Libor interest rate rigging scandal that has brought down top executives at Britain’s Barclays bank — most notably its chief executive Bob Diamond and chairman Marcus Agius.
Regulators are reportedly investigating HSBC, as well as Credit Agricole, Deutsche Bank and Societe Generale, over alleged manipulation of the Libor rate after Barclays was recently fined £290 million (Dh1.66 billion) over the affair.
Britain’s financial regulator, the Financial Services Authority (FSA), has said its Libor probe is looking at seven groups, which are not only British institutions.
Bank of England governor Mervyn King has meanwhile proposed that central bank governors and regulators discuss Libor reform at their upcoming meeting in Basel, Switzerland, on September 9.
Barclays has admitted attempting to manipulate the Libor and Euribor rates between 2005 and 2009.