HSBC and Standard Chartered investigated over Gupta links


The FCA and the SFO have been asked to review whether the banks are linked to South Africa's corruption inquiry into alleged ties between President Jacob Zuma and wealthy business family, the Guptas.

Anticipation is mounting in relation to an oral question that Labour peer, Lord Peter Hain of Neath, is due to table in the House of Lords on Thursday about the role of United Kingdom and European Union-based financial institutions in facilitating a transnational money laundering network that helped prop up the Gupta family empire.

Zuma and the Guptas have denied any wrongdoing but leaked emails and official investigations have fuelled the allegations.

On 25 September Hain wrote to Hammond as well as European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, detailing corruption in South Africa "on an industrial scale" and highlighting that these alleged crimes have been enabled by transnational money laundering and criminal networks that.

Hain told the BBC a whistleblower had indicated they "maybe inadvertently have been conduits for the corrupt proceeds of money".

Earlier this year, British PR firm Bell Pottinger collapsed after becoming embroiled in the scandal, after it was ejected from the UK PR industry body for allegedly helping stir up racial hatred on behalf of the Guptas.

HSBC declined to comment on the claims.

Lord Bates said ministers were grateful to Lord Hain for drawing the issue to the Chancellor's attention and assured peers the United Kingdom had some of the toughest anti-money laundering laws in the world.

Treasury minister Lord Bates said the United Kingdom was committed to tackling corruption in the United Kingdom and overseas with strict rules on money laundering introduced recently which British banks must follow.

The FCA said it was also in contact with the banks named by Lord Hain and would consider the responses received carefully.

In the US‚ investigators have in recent months started probing individuals‚ bank accounts‚ and companies in the United States for ties to alleged graft involving the family‚ people familiar with the matter told the FT.