Left Menu
Development News Edition

UPDATE 2-UK lawmaker blames HSBC, Stanchart, Baroda in S.Africa corruption


UPDATE 2-UK lawmaker blames HSBC, Stanchart, Baroda in S.Africa corruption

Corruption under South Africa's former president Jacob Zuma was enabled by international banks, companies, and governments which should now seek to recover the loot they helped to launder, British lawmaker Peter Hain told an inquiry on Monday. HSBC, Standard Chartered and India's Bank of Baroda, as well as their senior directors, were "directly culpable" in the looting of South Africa's treasury under Zuma, Hain said in his submission to the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture.

Hain was invited to give evidence because he had already named several corporates he was investigating under parliamentary privilege in 2017 as complicit in state capture. HSBC said it fully supported the commission's inquiry, while Standard Chartered said there was no evidence linking it to the Guptas directly. Bank of Baroda did not respond to a request for comment.

"They're all up to their neck in this," he told the inquiry at his appearance. "They continued because of course the corporates concerned, including the banks, were making money out of it...The Guptas could not have amassed this illicit wealth without the corporates and the banks ... being their little helpers."

Zuma, who was removed as president last year over corruption allegations, is facing a judicial inquiry. He has agreed to cooperate but has dismissed the probe as prejudiced. Part of its brief is to investigate accusations that the Guptas - prominent businessmen brothers Atul, Ajay and Rajesh — influenced Zuma over political appointments and state contracts.

Hain, a labor lord and former anti-Apartheid activist, called on the banks, global corporates and foreign governments to cooperate better so all those involved are brought to justice. In his submission, he said a number of international banks helped the Guptas cloak the source of their funds - by allowing them to open and maintain bank accounts, even after allegations of their involvement in corruption became public, and also by allowing them to transfer illicit funds into these accounts.

"The warning signs were there and they did very little about it," he said of the banks, adding that when he had tried to question the banks after he had named them in parliament as complicity he "found a great reluctance, citing ... client confidentiality, which is the excuse they hide behind.... The international banks, HSBC, Standard Chartered and Bank of Baroda are hiding behind this principle to conceal their complicity." The role of global finance in facilitating corruption, fraud and money laundering has come under increasing scrutiny over the past decade, but the fight against financial crime is mostly dealt with by national authorities who often fail to cooperate effectively.

Among his recommendations are to improve transparency around the beneficial owners of companies. He also proposes better programs for auditing the due diligence conducted by banks to ensure that they are complying with anti-money laundering laws, and stiffer penalties for individuals and organizations that fail to do so. An HSBC spokeswoman said the bank will continue to investigate any potential links to the Guptas or Gupta-related individuals and companies should new information come to light.

"This is no easy task given the lengths to which the Guptas have gone to disguise their activity," she said. A spokesman for Standard Chartered said: "We have found no evidence that we banked the Guptas directly, but we closed all accounts we identified as linked to their business interests by early 2014."

It declined to comment further on the grounds of client confidentiality. The Guptas also deny the accusations and say they have been victims of a political attack. They have since closed their South African operations in mining, media and technology.

Hain's report said that they currently reside in Dubai, and call on the Dubai authorities to extradite them to South Africa to face questioning over the allegations.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


TRENDING

OPINION/BLOG/INTERVIEW

JNU Administration's 100-meter challenge before JNUSU

For the first time in its history, Jawaharlal Nehru University JNU Administration is seeking permanent deployment of local police to keep protesting students at 100 meters away from the Administrative Block. It would be interesting to see h...

Sentiment Analysis of Twitter users during COP25: Governments losing trust on Climate Action

Sentiment analysis of Twitter users during COP25 in Madrid, being held from December 2-13, shows widespread fear on climate change due to global warming but almost no trust on governments in meeting the emission targets. In the analysis the...

These innovators are making humanitarian response more efficient

These alarming trends prompt a call for the world to not only address the ongoing crisis but also to adopt innovative approaches to fulfill the growing humanitarian needs in such emergencies. ...

Hyderabad Encounter: A sentiment analysis of public mood on day of encounter

Sentiment analysis of twitter users revealed that they showered salutes on Hyderabad police for eliminating alleged gang rapists of the veterinary doctor but only a few believe in cops version of successive events leading to encounter....

Videos

Latest News

More teens who vape us nicotine and other addictive substances: Study

More teens who vape are using addictive or mind-altering substances than previously believed, a new study has found. The concept of vaping was introduced in societies to reduce addictive smoking, but what this recent study depicts is its op...

China says Arsenal's Ozil "deceived by fake news" after Uighur comments

Chinas Foreign Ministry on Monday said Arsenals Mesut Ozil had been completely deceived by fake news and false statements after the midfielder criticised the countrys policy toward its Muslim Uighur minority. Arsenal distanced itself from O...

Best Western Plus Westlands hotel opened in Nairobi

Dubai-based independent hotel management company Aleph Hospitality AlephHospitality.com has opened the Best Western Plus Westlands hotel in Nairobi, Kenya.The new opening, which introduces the Best Western Plus brand to one of the citys mos...

China says Arsenal's Ozil 'deceived by fake news'

China accused Mesut Ozil Monday of being deceived by fake news and said he should visit Xinjiang to see for himself after the Arsenal footballer decried the treatment of the regions Uighur minority. Ozil, a German national of Turkish origin...

Give Feedback