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HK bank regulator calls for more anti-money laundering efforts

[HONG KONG] Hong Kong's banking regulator has said that banks in the city need to step-up anti-money laundering efforts, and has warned it would not hesitate to sanction lapses in detecting dirty money in the wake of the Fifa bribery scandal.

Stewart Mcglynn, head of banking supervision, anti-money laundering and financial crime risk division at the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, said in a statement on Thursday that it had"found that meeting anti-money laundering...expectations, particularly around higher risk customers remains a challenge for some banks. There should be no doubt on the part of the industry or the public that where they do not, we will take action."

More than a dozen banks were named in a US Department of Justice indictment of nine Fifa officials and five sports media and promotion executives involving more than US$150 million in bribes.

The indictment specifically mentioned US$1.2 million being wired to an unnamed bank account at HSBC in Hong Kong. Later, US$1 million was transferred from the HSBC account through Standard Chartered Bank in New York to a bank in the Cayman Islands.