CUSTODY & CLEARING | Cesar Tordesillas, Korea

S. Korea to check on HSBC, StanChart over money laundering

Spot checks will be carried out on South Korean Standard Chartered and HSBC Holdings over money laundering allegations.

South Korea’s financial regulator, Financial Supervisory Service, said it would conduct the local checks after allegations were made against the two British banks in the United States and Mexico. It did not specify when the checks would take place, though an FSS official said they were likely later this month.

The FSS official, who declined to be named, said the regulator would conduct the checks late to see whether the banks’ Korean units had been involved in similar activities.

“The inspection will focus on whether these banks have reported (to regulators) any dubious transactions including those with countries subject to financial transaction sanctions and whether they took their responsibility of checking customers (identification),” the FSS statement said.

A spokesperson for Standard Chartered said the bank’s Korean operations were not involved in the alleged activities. Chung Chi-hyang, spokeswoman for HSBC’s Korean unit, said the bank would “provide all the information FSS is requesting on a timely basis and give any other support they need.”

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