“I think these are very serious matter and we will get to the bottom of it. We need to get some more information from the Americans. We will get that and we will get to the bottom of this. Now, this is something, which has been worrying us for a long time. For this, just to tackle these issues, we had set up a financial intelligence unit,” said Singh, while reacting to the probe by US Senate’s investigation committee, which has found deficiencies in HSBC’s India operations.
“The financial intelligence unit has been doing good work and we are further strengthening it. The fight against terrorism, the fight against money laundering is a fight, which is a continuous fight. They keep on changing their methods, we keep on trying to evolve systems to catch them,” he added.
When asked to give his reaction on the U.S. Senate describing the incident as leaving India and the U.S. more vulnerable, Singh said:” Any financial institution, which does not follow the norms laid down by the financial action task force makes the world vulnerable in so far as the fight against terrorism is concerned.”
HSBC’s staff in India has 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 subcommittee 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.
More than one-third of the alerts already resolved by the Indian reviewers and others “had to be re-done” after an independent assessment by the OCC (the US office of the comptroller of the currency, which is the bank’s primary federal regulator in the country).