HSBC Faces Fresh Money Laundering Probe
HSBC is facing fresh allegations of money laundering in the wake of its £1.2bn penalty to settle similar claims last year.
Argentina's government announced overnight it was also accusing the London-listed bank of facilitating tax evasion through the creation of an illegal scheme that enabled clients to hide more than £50m.
The country's tax chief Ricardo Echegaray claimed that the scheme, set up by HSBC's Argentina subsidiary, was tapped by a criminal organisation and fake receipts were used to launder money for various companies.
He said: "They evaded taxes and laundered money through the purchase of fake receipts that were later used to justify the issuance of cheques whose amounts were deposited under a generic tax identification number."
Mr Echegaray claimed that HSBC never informed the tax authorities about the alleged scheme and he named three companies which he said had created "phantom operations" to launder cheques and evade tax through it.
The bank's Latin America spokeswoman, Lyssette Bravo, issued a statement that did not deny the accusations and promised to co-operate.
She said: "HSBC takes compliance with the law, wherever it operates, very seriously and strongly supports the efforts of governments and regulators to detect unlawful activity and take appropriate action."
Last year, HSBC paid nearly $2bn (£1.2bn) to settle a money-laundering case involving illicit drug money from Mexico brought by US officials.
The bank's head of compliance resigned from his position and apologised to Senate investigators after it was found HSBC had lax controls that exposed it to money-laundering and potential terrorist financing.