The United Kingdom’s banking regulator has launched a probe into HSBC’s anti-money laundering systems and its compliance with British rules, the bank said in its interim results.

The lender did not give details of the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) investigation, but said it is engaging with the watchdog on the matter.

“The FCA is also conducting an investigation into HSBC Bank plc’s compliance with UK money laundering regulations and financial crime systems and controls requirements. HSBC is cooperating with all of these investigations,” the bank said.

HSBC is no stranger to money laundering investigations, having been hit with a £1.9 billion fine over AML issues in 2012.

Last year it was strongly criticised by Britain’s Lord Peter Hain who accused the bank of facilitating laundering for the “corrupt” South African-based Gupta family.

The Guptas, who are considered to be close friends of former South African president Jacob Zuma, have denied allegations of corruption.

Zuma was forced to step down last year over a number of issues including allegations of serious corruption.

Around November 2017, Lord Hain said he had obtained information about the role British banks such as HSBC played with assisting the Gupta’s and he had handed the information to the UK Treasury and FCA.

Following his claims, HSBC said it had been reviewing its exposures to the Guptas for some time and had closed a number of accounts for associated front companies wherever it found them.

– Irene Madongo