HSBC bank has faced further pressure in Argentina after the country’s central bank suspended HSBC Bank Argentina’s right to transfer money abroad for 30 days. In a statement to the media issued on Monday, the Argentine central bank said its decision was due to irregularities in credit transfers that HSBC Bank Argentina had failed to fix. The suspension could be reduced “if the entity adopts the necessary corrective measures”, the statement said.
The suspension comes two months after Argentine authorities charged HSBC with tax evasion. In November, the country’s tax agency AFIP said that it had found that over 4,000 Argentines had secret accounts at the bank’s Swiss arm, which helped those clients evade taxes (HSBC share price: Argentina charges bank’s Swiss unit with tax evasion). HSBC Argentina rejected the allegations, saying that it respected Argentine law.
The move by the Argentine taxman is one of several tax-evasion charges against HSBC’s Swiss-based private banking unit. The unit is facing similar charges in the United States, France and Belgium. But despite the growing regulatory pressure, HSBC remains committed to the business.
In December Franco Morra, chief executive officer at HSBC Private Bank (Switzerland),said in an interview that the unit was not for sale. He noted that the bank had good reasons to believe that the ongoing investigations into the unit would be quickly resolved.