HSBC cuts back on Mediterranean and Israel operations

28 June 2013

The private bank arm of HSBC in Switzerland is drastically reducing its operations in north Africa and Israel.

This comes after a former employee was convicted of money laundering for Moroccan drug dealers, Reuters reports.

According to sources close to the bank, the Mediterranean and Israel business, which is known as Medis, is in charge of up to $8 billion and has between 12 and 15 members of staff.

Last year, a former HSBC banker was fired after an internal investigation and was subsequently convicted of laundering money through Swiss bank accounts in January 2013. His brother, who worked for a Geneva-based asset manager, was also sentenced.

HSBC spokesman Medard Schoenmaeckers told the news provider: "We have restructured the business dramatically. That will see the majority of clients leave."

He went on to say the bank was not involved in the drug smuggling investigation itself and had cooperated with the police. It is not yet known how many staff will remain in the Mediterranean and Israel sector of the business.

By Claire Archer

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