HSBC denies US Senate accusations of corruption

HSBC has strongly defended itself against a US Senate report into foreign corruption and US interests which is critical of the bank's lax anti-money laundering measures.

A bank spokesman said: "Some of the claims in the report are more than 10 years old," adding: "most of the situations complied with both the spirit and the letter of the law".

He was not aware of any plans to launch an investigation into the claims made by the Congressional report which was issued on Thursday. The report criticises oversights at other big institutions including Bank of America, UBS's London subsidiary and Citibank London.

The relationship between HSBC and Collins Bongo, the daughter-in-law of the late Gabonese dictator Omar Bongo, was one of the failings highlighted in the report. Ms Bongo, who claimed to be an unemployed homemaker on HSBC registration documents, allegedly received transfers worth $350,000 from a front company based in Benelux countries.

Emails released to the subcommittee show confusion at the bank meant Ms Bongo was not correctly identified as a relative of a public official and did not receive an appropriate level of scrutiny.

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