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World Citi, StanChart Eye Accounts of Sanctioned Hong Kong Officials

18:53  10 august  2020
18:53  10 august  2020 Source:   bloomberg.com

Hong Kong: Police order the arrest of 6 pro-democracy activists in exile

 Hong Kong: Police order the arrest of 6 pro-democracy activists in exile © REUTERS / Tyrone A couple walk past a row of police in Hong Kong, on the anniversary of the return of the territory to the China, July 1, 2020. After the one-year postponement of legislative elections in Hong Kong officially because of the Covid-19, and to the chagrin of the pro-democracy opposition, the Hong Kong police ordered Friday July 31 the arrest of 6 pro-democracy activists in exile, notably in the United States and the United Kingdom.

A leading Hong Kong official has said senior members of the city ’s government are finding it increasingly Banks doing business with sanctioned officials risk being locked out of the US financial system. StanChart , which has retail operations in the city , did not respond to a request for comment.

Among the other officials sanctioned are Hong Kong ’s current and former police commissioners. Hong Kong leader postpones elections, further Chinese and Hong Kong officials immediately condemned and sought to minimize the sanctions . Hong Kong ’s government on Saturday called it

(Bloomberg) -- Citigroup Inc. and Standard Chartered Plc are stepping up scrutiny of banking clients in Hong Kong, aiming to avoid violating U.S. sanctions on officials in the former British colony.

a man standing next to a body of water in front of a window: Paul Chan, Hong Kong's financial secretary, looks out at the city's skyline while posing for a photograph following a Bloomberg Television interview in Hong Kong, China, on Friday, June 5, 2020. Hong Kong is ready to defend the currency’s link to the U.S. dollar with the support of the mainland, and investors still retain confidence in the system, according Chan. © Bloomberg Paul Chan, Hong Kong's financial secretary, looks out at the city's skyline while posing for a photograph following a Bloomberg Television interview in Hong Kong, China, on Friday, June 5, 2020. Hong Kong is ready to defend the currency’s link to the U.S. dollar with the support of the mainland, and investors still retain confidence in the system, according Chan.

U.S.-based Citigroup is already taking steps to suspend accounts linked to some of the 11 targeted individuals, one person familiar with the matter said. Standard Chartered, which is based in London, is reviewing whether it has relationships with any of the officials and will monitor their transactions, another person said, adding that it has suspended new account openings for those on the list.

U.S. Poised to Sanction Hong Kong Chief Carrie Lam for Crackdown

  U.S. Poised to Sanction Hong Kong Chief Carrie Lam for Crackdown The Trump administration is poised to impose sanctions on Chinese officials and their allies in Hong Kong, including Chief Executive Carrie Lam, as soon as Friday over their role in curtailing political freedoms in the former U.K. colony, according to three people familiar with the matter. The measures would also target Communist Party officials, according to two of the people. All of the people spoke on condition of anonymity because the sanctions haven’t yet been announced.

Hong Kong and China are vital to HSBC, which made profits of .1 billion in the Chinese city last year. Greater China accounted for 40% of the As protests roiled Hong Kong last year, Tucker gave an interview to Chinese state television. He held to the bank’s official line of condemning violence

Hong Kong accounted for 90% of HSBC's pre-tax profit and 41% of StanChart 's in 2019, showing the importance of the Asian "The investment case for HSBC is clouded by the outlook for Hong Kong and steps by China to impose greater control over the autonomous region," said Will Howlett, equity

With the U.S. and China each imposing sanctions on the other in an escalating standoff over Beijing’s crackdown on the former British colony, Western lenders are walking a tightrope over their operations in Hong Kong and expansion plans in China. For their part, Chinese lenders such as Bank of China Ltd. and Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. are vulnerable due to their need for dollars.

The sanctions forbid banks from doing business with the penalized individuals. But complying with that order could put lenders directly at odds with the national-security law Beijing recently imposed in Hong Kong, which says that no sanctions or hostile actions can be applied against the city and mainland China.

Carrie Lam: US sanctions Hong Kong chief executive over democratic crackdowns

  Carrie Lam: US sanctions Hong Kong chief executive over democratic crackdowns The US sanctioned Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Friday for her role in crackdowns on political freedom in the region. © NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam has announced the delay of the city's legislative elections. The US Treasury Department charged that Lam and 10 other individuals "have implemented policies directly aimed at curbing freedom of expression and assembly, and democratic processes, and are subsequently responsible for the degradation of Hong Kong's autonomy.

sanctions against eleven Chinese officials , including Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam. The reasons listed for sanctioning each individual relate to their actions against Hong Kong “The United States stands with the people of Hong Kong and we will use our tools and authorities to target

In late June, President Xi Jinping signed into effect the new law, which criminalises secession, subversion, collusion, and terrorism in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The law was welcomed by Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam, but was opposed by a number of nations

“We regularly review client accounts around the world,” said a Citigroup spokesman, who declined to comment further on Hong Kong. A Standard Chartered spokeswoman declined to comment.

The individuals sanctioned by the U.S. include Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, Xia Baolong, director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of China’s State Council, and Chris Tang, commissioner of the Hong Kong Police Force. The targeted officials will have property and assets in the U.S. frozen.

In retaliation, China is sanctioning 11 Americans, including Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, and Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth and Michael Abramowitz, the president of Freedom House.

Read more: Banks Risk Breaching China Law

The banks’ steps add to preparations that have been going on since the security law and the U.S. Hong Kong Autonomy Act, which enabled the sanctions, were passed last month. Additional levels of screening will be done now to cope with potentially further sanctions on politically exposed people, the people said. Bankers and their lawyers from Hong Kong to Washington have been poring over the fine-print to reconcile how they can dodge major consequences from being squeezed between the two laws. Running afoul of the legislations put companies at risk of fines or losing their license to do business.

Beijing's top Hong Kong office says U.S. sanctions are 'clowning actions' and 'ridiculous'

  Beijing's top Hong Kong office says U.S. sanctions are 'clowning actions' and 'ridiculous' Beijing's top Hong Kong office says U.S. sanctions are 'clowning actions' and 'ridiculous'The United States on Friday imposed sanctions on Luo Huining, the head of China's Liaison Office, as well as Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam and other current and former officials that Washington accuses of curtailing political freedoms in the global financial hub.

Besides StanChart and BOC Hong Kong joint ventures, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) also issued the so-called virtual banking licence to a venture led by ZhongAn Technologies International Group. The licence will give holders access to a lucrative retail banking market in the Asian financial

The US accused the officials of curtailing political freedoms in the Special Administrative Region and announced it would criminalize any US financial transactions with the sanctioned officials as well as freeze their US assets. Separately, the Hong Kong government said the sanctions were "shameless

The latest U.S. order doesn’t include a wind-down period, suggesting banks will be subject to the law immediately. Foreign financial institutions that don’t operate within the U.S. won’t be caught up as long they don’t help sanctioned individuals with transactions linked to U.S. dollars, the people said.

Hard Pressed

“The banks here would be hard pressed to cut off some of these names as their customers,” said Benjamin Quinlan, chief executive officer of Quinlan & Associates, a strategy consultant in Hong Kong. “At the end of the day, even if you go from a U.S. bank to the likes of HSBC, they all have an international footprint that straddles the U.S., Hong Kong, and mainland China.”

Hong Kong authorities over the weekend brushed off the sanctions, saying the unilateral move won’t force banks to comply under Hong Kong law. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the city’s de facto central bank, said local lenders have no obligation to follow and the lenders should treat customers fairly in assessing whether to continue to provide services to an individual.

China Set to Approve Hong Kong’s Decision on Election Delay

  China Set to Approve Hong Kong’s Decision on Election Delay China’s State Council has proposed approving Hong Kong’s decision to delay legislative elections for a year because of the Covid-19 outbreak, according to a report on state-run CCTV Saturday. © Bloomberg The Legislative Council logo is displayed at the legislature's building in Hong Kong, China, on Tuesday, July 28, 2020. The Hong Kong government is considering postponing upcoming legislative elections, the Hong Kong Economic Times reported, after a sudden surge in coronavirus cases raised new questions about the September vote.

Will official data show that the US recovery has stalled? “We reiterate that we respect and support laws and regulations that will enable Hong Kong to recover and rebuild the Last week China bypassed the city ’s legislature to approve a plan to impose national security laws on Hong Kong .

Major banks HSBC and Standard Chartered backed China's new national security law for Hong Kong on Wednesday in a break from their usual policy of political neutrality. Gloria Tso reports.

The assertions by the Hong Kong authorities did little to calm concerns at banks since they still will need to comply with laws in other jurisdictions, the people said.

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


Video: How worried are American companies operating in China about Trump's TikTok ban? (CNBC)

Hong Kong Leader Carrie Lam Has Credit Card Trouble After U.S. Sanctions .
Hong Kong’s leader said she’s having trouble using her credit cards after the U.S. imposed sanctions targeting Chinese officials and their allies in the city. © Bloomberg Carrie Lam, Hong Kong's chief executive, speaks during a news conference in Hong Kong, China, on Friday, July 31, 2020. Hong Kong’s government will delay upcoming legislative elections, Lam said at a news conference on Friday evening.

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