HSBC faces US investigation for holding 870m pounds of Gaddafi's assets
Washington, July 1 (ANI): The Hongkong Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) faces a U.S. bribery inquiry for keeping hundreds of millions of pounds in assets belonging to Libya leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.
Gaddafi has reportedly invested up to 870 million pounds in HSBC.
The Daily Mail quoted a leaked internal report from the Libyan Investment Authority as saying that there has been a dramatic rise in deposits with the bank, which invests some 40 billion pounds of oil wealth collected by the Gaddafi regime.
Reports have suggested that HSBC had held 182 million pounds of Libya's money last June, and that amount had risen to more than 870 million pounds in just three months time.
Now, the US could be conducting an investigation to find out whether banks paid Libyan officials in return for managing the North African nation's money.
According to insiders, a possible investigation is a result of the allegations that banks, hedge funds and private equity firms paid so-called 'placement agents' in return for being given access to Libya's state investment fund.
Campaign group Global Witness, which obtained the report, called for legislation to force banks to publish any funds they manage on behalf of nation states.
"Banking secrecy laws still mean that citizens are left in the dark about how their own state's funds are managed. Dark clouds gathering: HSBC has declined to comment on whether it was the subject of a specific investigation on the mater," the paper quoted spokesman Robert Palmer, as saying.
"We can't continue with a situation where information about how a state handles its assets is only made available once a dictator turns violently on his own people and information is leaked," he added. (ANI)
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