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RETAIL BANKING | Cesar Tordesillas, India

India seeks clarification of HSBC, Stanchart's Iran transactions

Indian agencies are gathering all details about lapses by HSBC and Standard Chartered's outsourcing jobs in complying with money laundering and terror financing regulations.

India's banking regulator RBI would soon approach UK's Financial Services Authority, with which it had recently signed a new Memorandum of Understanding for exchange of information and co-operation in surveillance operations, a senior official said.

Issues related to HSBC and Stanchart would be discussed at the next meeting of representatives of RBI and FSA, along with other supervisory developments and matters concerning various banks having operations in India and the UK, the official said.

New York state's key banking regulator, the Department of Financial Services, had accused Standard Chartered Bank of hiding about 60,000 secret transactions with the Iranian government, involving a whopping $250 billion, and exposing the US financial system to terrorists, weapon dealers and drug kingpins.

HSBC's staff in India have also come under the scanner in a separate probe in the US for deficiencies in their role as "offshore reviewers" of the global banking giant's compliance to safety mechanism against money laundering and terrorist financing.

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