HSBC denies hawala charges

Last Updated: Wed, Dec 26, 2012 12:10 hrs

Lucknow, Dec 26 (IANS) HSBC has dismissed allegations of running a "hawala" racket in India, saying it took "compliance with the law very seriously".

"With a new senior global leadership team and a new strategy since last year, it (HSBC) takes concrete steps to strengthen compliance," said Seema Mehta, chief nodal officer, HSBC, in a letter to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

The Dec 20 letter followed a query from the central bank which is probing a complaint by senior police officer Amitabh Thakur against HSBC.

The police are looking into charges by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convener Arvind Kejriwal that the bank converted "black money" allegedly stashed away in Swiss banks and of running a hawala racket in India.

HSBC also been accused of running illegal banking operations through its Dubai and Geneva arms. RBI had given HSBC a month to respond.

Thakur said he was dissatisfied with HSBC's response and would petition the RBI again.

"The core issues raised in the complaint initially are still completely untouched and unanswered," Thakur told IANS. The police are now seeking the intervention of the RBI governor for a threadbare probe into the bank's dealings in India.

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