HSBC accused of money laundering in Argentina

HSBC has been hit with allegations of money laundering in Argentina following a fine for similar claims in the US last year, according to a number of reports published Tuesday.

HSBC has been hit with allegations of money laundering in Argentina following a fine for similar claims in the US last year, according to a number of reports published Tuesday.

Argentina's tax agency Afip has accused the banking giant of assisting companies in laundering 392m pesos and evading 224 pesos in taxes.

The country's Head of the Federal Administration of Public Revenue, Ricardo Echegaray, said the London-listed bank facilitated tax evasion through the creation of an illegal scheme set up by HSBC's Argentina subsidiary.

He claimed the scheme was exploited by a criminal organisation and faulty receipts were used to launder money for various companies.

Echegaray named three companies which he understood created "phantom operations" to launder cheques and avoid tax.

"They evaded taxes and laundered money through the purchase of fake receipts that were later used to justify the issuance of cheques whose amounts were deposited under a generic tax identification number," he said.

He added that HSCB failed to inform tax authorities about the alleged scheme.

HSBC's Latin America spokeswoman, Lyssette Bravo, neither denied or confirmed the claims.

"HSBC takes compliance with the law, wherever it operates, very seriously and strongly supports the efforts of governments and regulators to detect unlawful activity and take appropriate action," she said in a statement.

It serves as a fresh blow to the lender following a $1.9m settlement with US authorities in December over claims that a breach of anti-money laundering laws allowed drug dealers to move hundreds of millions of dollars through the country's financial system.

RD

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