Activists approach RBI against HSBC on black money, hawala allegations
Moneylife Digital Team 27 December 2012

Two activists from Lucknow have urged the RBI governor to enquire into the allegations and cancel the licence of HSBC, if found true

Lucknow-based activists Amitabh Thakur and Dr Nutan Thakur have approached the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) with regard to allegations of facilitating deposit of black money in Switzerland and hawala transactions by Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC).

The activists said that they wrote to RBI governor D Subbarao after HSBC denied all the allegations in reply to their earlier complaint to the central bank.

“... HSBC takes compliance with the law, wherever it operates, very seriously. With a new senior global leadership team and a new strategy in place since last year, HSBC continues to take concrete steps to strengthen compliance, risk management and culture," the activists quoted HSBC India having said in its reply to their complaint to RBI. (See reply from HSBC below)

They said that HSBC India’s reply came after the RBI asked it to look into the complaint, but they have again written to RBI as the core issues raised by them have remained unanswered.

In the letter, the activists said that “...the allegation that HSBC, Dubai and Geneva do not have a license from the RBI to conduct banking operations in India and their operations in India are completely illegal has not been given any consideration, nor has it been explained by HSBC in its response on 20 December 2012.”

The complaint referred to allegations by Aam Aadmi Party convener Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan, wherein HSBC was accused of facilitating deposit of black money in Swiss banks.

Earlier, the RBI asked Amitabh Thakur, an officer from the Indian Police Service (IPS) and social activist Dr Nutan Thakur to approach the Banking Ombudsman (BO) in Kanpur, if they were not satisfied with the response from HSBC.

However, both the activists said they found it inappropriate to approach the BO since the issue was related with black money and hawala transactions and their complaint did not fall under the jurisdiction of the BO. “...the complaints are not related to 'the deficiencies in banking or other services’ not do they come among any of the grounds mentioned in Clause 8 of the Ombudsman Scheme 2006,” both the Thakurs mentioned in their letter.

The two activists had urged the RBI governor to enquire into the allegations and cancel the licence of HSBC, if found true.

Here is the reply from HSBC to the Thakurs...

Free Helpline
Legal Credit