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Hong Kong makes reassurances following FinCEN files release

By Dan Byrne

Hong Kong authorities were quick to assure the international community of their commitment to top-class AML standards following the FinCEN files release.

In the wake of the leaks being made public Sunday evening, a spokesperson from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), the region’s banking regulator, reaffirmed Hong Kong’s guarantee of meeting international standards in tackling money laundering, Reuters reported Monday.

The spokesperson declined to discuss individual details of any cases involved with the FinCEN files but added that the authority was aware of the news reports linking several globally prominent banks to billions in dirty money transfers.

“The HKMA requires banks to implement effective anti-money laundering and counter financing-of-terrorism systems, including detecting and reporting suspicious transactions to law enforcement agencies for investigation,” the spokesperson said.

Hong Kong ranks as the 6th most important financial centre in the world, according to the 2020 Global Financial Centres index.

It is the home of HSBC (a subsidiary of London-based HSBC holdings), one of the main banks embroiled in the FinCEN files controversy.

The leaked documents suggest that the bank continued to facilitate the laundering of international criminal profits despite previously pledging to “stem dirty money.”

Standard Chartered, another bank featuring heavily in the FinCEN files, also maintains a significant presence in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong’s capacity in anti-money laundering and counter-financing of terrorism is assessed by the international Financial Action Task Force and has been found to be effective by international standards, the HKMA spokesperson said.

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