Campaigners target HSBC
Naturalist and comedian Bill Oddie was this week ejected from the headquarters of HSBC for protesting about the bank's ties to companies illegally destroying rainforests in Sarawak, Borneo.
The company is reported to have provided loans and services “to some of the most destructive logging companies in the world”, which generated £100 million of profit for the bank.
Global Witness and Bill Oddie have now launched a public petition calling on the bank to admit its wrongdoing and fix its compliance procedures and forest policies so that its investments do not fund the same kind of abuse in future. Make your voice heard in the run-up to HSBC’s Annual General Meeting on 24th May.
Less than 5% of Sarawak's rainforests were said to be unaffected by logging or plantations as a result of the “timber and palm oil bonanza” conducted by the companies that received loans and services from HSBC.
The logging companies were reported to have close ties to Sarawak’s Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud, who was said to control all forestry licensing and land allocations in the state and to be under investigation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.
A statement on the Global Witness website stated: “HSBC is at serious risk of violating international anti-money laundering regulations which require it to carry out extra checks on clients linked to senior politicians”.
Mimicking the style of a nature documentary, a short film – titled Bill Oddie’s BankWatch – studies a new species known as the 'HSBC banker' in its natural habitat in London’s Canary Wharf. Oddie is filmed in HSBC’s headquarters lambasting the bank’s activities in Malaysia, before being forcibly ejected from the premises.
For more on dodgy banking practices see our guide to current accounts.
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