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FINMA has ruled that HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) SA violated money laundering regulations.


Swiss financial market supervisory authority FINMA has ruled that HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) SA violated money laundering regulations.

This ruling followed enforcement proceedings opened by FINMA in December 2021 and focused on the financial institution’s banking relationships with two unnamed politically exposed persons, FINMA said in a Tuesday (June 18) press release.

  • “HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) SA operated two high-risk business relationships where it failed to carry out an adequate check of
    • Either the origins, purpose or background of the assets involved,”   
  • “In addition, a number of high-risk transactions were insufficiently clarified and documented,
    • Making it impossible to establish the legitimate nature of these transactions.”

According to the release these transactions

  • Were carried out between 2002 and 2015, amounted to more than $300 million, and
  • Involved funds that originated from a government institution and
  • Were transferred from Lebanon to Switzerland and back to Lebanon,

HSBC provided an emailed statement saying:-

  • That it plans to appeal the decision.
  • “We acknowledge the matters raised by FINMA, which are historic,”
  • “HSBC takes its Anti-Money Laundering [AML] obligations very seriously including complying with all laws and regulations in every market we operate in.
  • As we plan to appeal the decision, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

FINMA said in its press release that its decision orders that HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) SA

  • May not enter into new business relationships with politically exposed persons until it conducts a review into the anti-money laundering aspects of all its current high-risk business relationships and business relationships with politically exposed persons;
  • Checks the categorisation of risks presented by its other customers; and
  • Has the completion of these reviews been confirmed by an audit agent?

The bank must also provide FINMA with details about the responsibilities of its board of directors and executive management and how those details are assigned, per the release.



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