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HSBC closes accounts for Vatican and diplomats

Global banking giant HSBC is closing the accounts of foreign diplomats in Britain and giving them 60 days to move their money, a report said Sunday. More than 40 embassies and consulates are said to have been affected, including the Vatican, with the decision being described as creating "havoc" in the diplomatic corps. The situation has been worsened by other banks refusing to take their business and the Foreign Office has had to get involved...

The Mail on Sunday said one diplomat told them he thought the bank feared being exposed to embassies after being caught up in a costly money laundering scandal. The United States agreed fines with HSBC of $1.9 billion (1.4 billion euros) last year over allegations of money laundering that were said to have helped Mexican drug cartels, terrorists and Iran. The bank admitted to having "inadequate" controls in place and accepted responsibility for the group's past mistakes, as part of an agreement with several US authorities including the US Department of Justice.

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