HSBC case: RBI looking into issues raised by US

New Delhi: The Reserve Bank is looking into the issue of non-compliance of anti-money laundering norms by the Indian staff of HSBC raised by a US Senate Committee, a senior Finance Ministry official said today. “I am confident that RBI is looking at it (HSBC issue). I am aware of it. They are very conscious of the issue,” Department of Financial Services Secretary D K Mittal told reporters here.

He said the finance ministry would assist the RBI with the required inputs. “HSBC is a regulatory issue. It is for RBI to comment. If they need any input from us they will have to tell us,” Mittal said. HSBC`s India staff have come under the scanner for deficiencies in their role as “offshore reviewers” of the global banking giant`s compliance to safety mechanism against money laundering and terrorist financing.

A probe by the US Senate`s Permanent Sub-committee on Investigations found that HSBC`s Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Compliance Department, which included employees in India, was highly inadequately staffed. Besides, deficiencies were found in the quality of the work done by HSBC`s “offshore reviewers in India”, who were used for clearing a major backlog of suspected transaction alerts at the bank.