CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 24 August 2019

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HSBC drops Vatican account in Britain

ROME (SE): The Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) in England has told more than 40 embassies, including the Vatican nunciature, that it is refusing to continue to provide them with banking services and will no longer hold their accounts.

The Hong Kong-based banking giant, which rates as the biggest bank in the United Kingdom, told the diplomats to find another bank to provide their banking needs.

They have all been given 60 days notice, after which their accounts will be closed. Some of these embassies have been HSBC clients for a number of years, the Vatican Insider reported.

The Daily Mail explained that the bank did not give the reason for its decision in great detail, but said it is reviewing its standards.

However, it quoted sources close to the bank as saying that embassies and consulates are considered a money-laundering risk.

HSBC is extremely sensitive to this risk, as last year it had to pay out US$1.92 billion ($14.88 billion) in fines to the government of the United States of America, because of suspected money-laundering.

 

But the embassies are also facing problems finding other banks that are willing to accept them as clients. The Foreign Office has offered its assistance to help find a solution.

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