BUENOS AIRES, Sept 1 (Reuters) - Argentina’s central bank on Tuesday ordered HSBC Argentina to name a new president and vice president within 24 hours, accusing the bank of failing to establish necessary controls to prevent tax evasion and money laundering.
Argentine authorities locked horns with HSBC in November when it charged the bank with helping more than 4,000 clients evade taxes by stashing their money in secret Swiss bank accounts.
HSBC rejected the charge but Argentina said in March it wanted HSBC to repatriate $3.5 billion that the Argentine tax authorities said the bank had moved offshore.
The central bank said on Tuesday that HSBC’s president, Gabriel Martino, “had not directed the necessary measures to mitigate and adequately address the prevention of money laundering and the financing of terrorist activities.”
Officials at HSBC were not immediately available to comment. HSBC has consistently said it respected Argentine law.
Argentina’s central bank has the authority to revoke the licenses of officials who legally represent commercial banks before the financial regulator.
Europe’s largest bank faces probes in several countries into allegations it helped clients dodge taxes. (Reporting by Richard Lough; Editing by Matthew Lewis)