HSBC, StanChart shares fall to 22-year lows

HONG KONG: HSBC’s shares in Hong Kong and Standard Chartered’s in London fell on Monday to their lowest since at least 1998 after 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.
The BuzzFeed and other media articles were based on leaked suspicious activity reports (SARs) filed by banks and other financial firms with the US Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCen).
HSBC shares in London fell as much as 5 per cent to 288 pence, their lowest intraday level since 2009, after the lender’s Hong Kong shares earlier touched a 25-year low. The stock has now nearly halved since the start of the year.
StanChart dropped as much as 4.6 per cent in London to its lowest since 1998, against the backdrop of a broader selloff in the market with the STOXX European banks index down 4.8 per cent.
More than 2,100 SARs, which are in themselves not necessarily proof of wrongdoing, were obtained by BuzzFeed News and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and other media organisations.
In a statement, HSBC said “all of the information provided by the ICIJ is historical.” The bank said that as of 2012 it had embarked on a “multi-year journey to overhaul its ability to combat financial crime.”
StanChart said it took its “responsibility to fight financial crime extremely seriously and have invested substantially in our compliance programmes”. Barclays said it believes it has complied with “all its legal and regulatory obligations, including in relation to US sanctions.” The most number of SARS in the cache related to Deutsche Bank, whose shares fell 5.2 per cent on Monday. Deutsche Bank said the ICIJ had “reported on a number of historic issues.” — Reuters