According to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, leaked government documents show that the banks continued moving illicit funds even after USA officials warned they'd face criminal prosecutions if they didn't stop doing business with mobsters, fraudsters or corrupt regimes. Shares of Barclays, also mentioned in the leaked files, dropped 6% to 91.5p. In related news, Standard Chartered offered UAE Amazon instalment plan last week.
At the beginning of the trading day, HSBC's stock price fell to a 25-year low, according to FactSet.
European stock markets nosedived Monday as investors fretted over mounting fears of a second coronavirus wave and tighter government restrictions to combat the killer disease, notably in Spain.
Buzzfeed, which received the leaked documents along with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), said the documents showed how groups such as the Taliban, Russian oligarchs and gangsters moved money through the western bank system.
The files relate to alleged money-laundering transactions across several banks that took place over 17 years from 2000, and represent a total of around $2trn in suspicious activity.
SARS are documents written by internal officers at the banks and sent to FinCEN and do not, in themselves, indicate wrongdoing. According to reports, the U.S. authorities repeatedly flagged transactions as suspicious in the years between 1997 and 2017, yet the banks stand accused of taking little or no action.
HSBC told the Financial Times "all the information provided by the ICIJ is historical" and predated the conclusion of the bank's deferred prosecution agreement with the US Department of Justice in 2017.
The ICIJ reported the leaked documents were a tiny fraction of the reports filed with FinCEN.
"We take our responsibility to fight financial crime extremely seriously and have invested substantially in our compliance programmes", said the emerging markets-focused bank.
Some of the world's biggest banks including HSBC, JPMorgan Chase and Standard Chartered moved trillions of dollars identified as being potentially tied to money laundering or other crimes despite raising concerns about those transactions in filings with USA regulators, reports South China Morning Post.
Staff at major banks often used Google searches to learn who was behind large transactions, it said.