Three news to start your week: June 24

Stay informed with three key updates: BBVA faces trial for corporate spying, HSBC violates money laundering rules, UK's richest family on trial for human trafficking.

Three news to start your week: June 24

Spanish judge says BBVA should face corporate spying trial


As an investigative Spanish judge stated, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA will stand trial as part of a criminal investigation into allegations of corporate espionage. 

National Court judge Manuel Garcia Castellon has recommended that BBVA and its former chairman Francisco Gonzalez should face trial after conducting an investigation that began in 2018, citing indications of bribery and disclosure of confidential information. Last month, a public prosecutor echoed the call for the bank to stand trial. 

While the judge's decision can be appealed, BBVA is under scrutiny for alleged payments to a former senior police officer to conduct surveillance on competitors, politicians, and journalists. The bank and several executives have been under official investigation since early 2020.


Swiss regulator finds HSBC violated money laundering rules

(Financial Times)

Switzerland's financial regulator has taken a firm stance against HSBC's Swiss private bank, ordering a ban on catering to prominent public figures due to violations of anti-money laundering regulations. 

The penalties imposed on HSBC's subsidiary stem from a significant case involving substantial transactions between Lebanon and Switzerland from 2002 to 2015, totaling over $300 million. Despite closing the accounts in 2016 due to risk concerns, HSBC failed to report the transactions to authorities until September 2020.

In response to these failures, Finma has mandated HSBC to conduct a comprehensive review of all high-risk relationships and business dealings with politically exposed persons. Consequently, the bank is prohibited from initiating new relationships with PEPs until the review is completed.


UK's richest family on trial for human trafficking


Four members of the UK's wealthiest family are facing trial in Switzerland under shocking allegations that they prioritized their dog's well-being over their staff's. The Hinduja family, with an estimated net worth of $47bn, is accused of exploitation and human trafficking.

The family's ownership of a villa in Geneva's affluent neighborhood of Cologny is at the center of the accusations, which revolve around their practice of bringing in servants from India to tend to their household and children.

Allegations include the confiscation of staff passports, pay as low as $8 for 18-hour workdays, and severe restrictions on their freedom to leave the premises. Despite reaching a financial settlement for exploitation, the Hindujas still stand trial for trafficking, a grave criminal offense in Switzerland, to which they plead not guilty.