HSBC (HSBA.L) shares on the Hong Kong stock exchange (0005.HK) dropped to its lowest level since 1995 after a report about several global banks allegedly moving large sums of allegedly illicit funds during nearly 20 years was published on Sunday.
HSBC shares in Hong Kong fell by over 4% at one point and is currently hovering under the $30 (£23.15) mark on Monday.
Shares in Standard Chartered (STAN.L) on the Hong Kong exchange (2888.HK) dropped by over 3% to the lowest since 25 May 2020. Both HSBC and Standard Chartered’s stock price performance helped drag down the Hang Seng Index (HSI) by -1.5%.
The report by BuzzFeed and other media outlets on Sunday, cited documents submitted by banks and other financial firms to the US Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).
The documents — known as SARs — are not necessarily proof of wrongdoing. Some 2,100 of these were obtained by BuzzFeed News and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and other media organisations.
According to Buzzfeed’s report, the files contained information about more than $2tn worth of transactions between 1999 and 2017.
HSBC said in a statement: “All of the information provided by the ICIJ is historical.” The bank said as of 2012, “HSBC embarked on a multi-year journey to overhaul its ability to combat financial crime across more than 60 jurisdictions.”
StanChart said in a statement: “We take our responsibility to fight financial crime extremely seriously and have invested substantially in our compliance programmes.”
(Bloomberg) — Iliad SA has agreed to buy Polish telecommunications company Play Communications SA for 2.2 billion euros ($2.6 billion) as it expands across Europe.French billionaire Xavier Niel’s Iliad has offered 39 zloty per share for Play, and has received binding commitments from two controlling shareholders for their 40% stake, the companies said in a statement on Monday. The offer is a 39% premium to the company’s closing share price on Friday.The cash-and-debt deal shows Niel’s ambition to accelerate expansion plans following acquisitions in Ireland and Italy. Play Communications, which is the youngest of Poland’s four biggest mobile telecommunications providers, started operating in 2007. It’s controlled by Greece’s Olympia Development SA and Iceland’s Novator Partners LLP.Play’s shares surged 37% to 38.52 zloty in Warsaw at 9:47 a.m. on Monday after earlier gaining as much as 38%, the biggest intraday gain since the company’s 2017 initial public offering. Play’s rivals Orange Polska SA and Cyfrowy Polsat SA also gained as much as 14% and 7% respectively. Iliad fell 2.1% in Paris.Play competes with Orange SA’s and Deutsche Telecom AG’s Polish units as well as Cyfrowy Polsat’s operator, Plus, owned by the country’s richest person, Zygmunt Solorz. Earlier this year, the Polish company agreed to buy Virgin Mobile’s local operations in a 13.4 million-euro deal.As the telecommunications market is driven by convergence, with operators offering combinations of fixed and mobile services, Iliad could be interested in further deals in Poland, particularly fixed-line assets, said Konrad Ksiezopolski, an analyst at Haitong Bank SA, in a note.Play doesn’t currently offer fixed-line services, like broadband Internet access, except through partnerships with other carriers. Iliad said Monday that it will be the “best industrial partner to accompany Play’s growth in the mobile market and optimize its entry into the fixed market.”Iliad Chief Executive Officer Thomas Reynaud declined to comment about future investments in fixed line or fiber for Play. Play’s shares have taken a hit this year amid investor concerns about the country’s upcoming auction for 5G airwaves. The operator relies heavily on Huawei Technologies Co. equipment and is seen as vulnerable to an escalating conflict between the U.S. and China. It estimated last week that replacing the equipment would cost as much as 900 million zloty ($239 million) over the next seven years. The company is awaiting an update on the regulation in Poland in the months ahead.Play had considered selling its portfolio of about 8,000 mobile sites at a valuation of about 800 million euros, people familiar with the matter said in June.(Updates with share price, analyst comment from fourth paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Indonesian religious groups and experts, including a former vice president, are urging authorities to delay regional elections set for December, as coronavirus infections surge in the world’s fourth most populous country. Former Vice President Jusuf Kalla, who now heads Indonesia’s Red Cross, in a newspaper commentary on Monday said a December poll could be dangerous. Indonesia has confirmed nearly 245,000 coronavirus infections and 9,553 fatalities, Asia’s highest death toll outside of India.
Toyota claimed a Le Mans 24 Hour hat-trick on Sunday after winning the 88th edition of the annual motorsport race held on the outskirts of the city of Le Mans in central France.The race, postponed from June to September as a consequence of the Covid19 pandemic, was held behind closed doors.Kazuki Nakajima, Sebastien Buemi and Brendon Hartley, took the chequered flag after completing 387 laps in 24 hours of the Ciruit de La Sarthe. La Sarthe circuit.“Our race was a real roller coaster, but everyone did a fantastic job and sometimes it seems we have a bit more luck than the other guys,” said Nakajima after the win.Gustavo Menezes, Norman Nato and Bruno Senna driving a Rebellion claimed second place five laps adrift. The second Toyota of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose-Maria Lopez, which started in pole position, took the final podium place.“It’s been a steep learning curve coming in and replacing Fernando Alonso and these two guys have really helped me getting to speed with this very complicated and fast race car,” said Hartley, who won the race in 2017 with Porsche.The fourth place in the Le Mans Prototype 1 or LMP1 category was claimed by the second Rebellion team of Romain Dumas, Nathanael Berthon and Louis Delétraz.The LMP2 title was claimed by Paul Di Resta, Filipe Albuquerque and Philip Hanson of United Autosports. The all-women team of Tatiana Calderon, Sophia Floersch and Beitske Visser finished in ninth place in the LMP2 category.Aston Martin won both the LM GTE professional and amateur races.
COVID-19 concerns are mounting in the UK, with talk of another lockdown in London as Mayor Sadiq Khan publicly called for more aggressive action following surging infection rates.
The bank raised its 2020 Brent and U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) price forecasts by $2 to $43 per barrel and $39, respectively. « We remain constructive on oil prices for next year as we see limited potential downside to our demand outlook, primarily due to the evolving response function of governments as well as the general public towards the virus threat and continued OPEC+ restraint, » Barclays said.
Pakistan’s ailing former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif broke a nearly yearlong silence from exile in London to vow to oust Imran Khan from office, accusing him of only reaching power through a vote rigged by the country’s powerful military. The 70-year-old former premier offered an emotional, direct attack late Sunday on Khan and the military, with which he has a long, uneasy relationship. Khan’s government on Monday dismissed his remarks, with Information Minister Shibli Faraz saying the Pakistani opposition is only united because they fear ongoing corruption cases targeting them.
Air France-KLM must « do much more » to reduce its costs due to the COVID-19 induced crisis in the airline sector, chief executive Ben Smith said in an interview published on Monday by French paper L’Opinion.
(Bloomberg) — The TikTok video-sharing app was already under U.S. scrutiny when users pranked President Donald Trump’s campaign by pretending to reserve thousands of tickets to a June re-election rally in Oklahoma.For Trump administration hardliners who wanted a tougher stance toward Beijing and viewed the Chinese-owned app as a national security threat, it was the perfect moment to pounce. The president, furious over the Covid-19 pandemic and embarrassed by empty seats at his campaign event, obliged.Linking TikTok to Beijing’s handling of the raging coronavirus outbreak, Trump in July threatened to ban the app used by 100 million Americans unless China handed over control of the company, its algorithms and data to the U.S. Hearkening back to his New York real estate days, he also insisted the U.S. government get compensated in the process.The deal Trump signed off on Saturday, hours before a Sept. 20 deadline, does almost none of that.Trump said he wanted the U.S. part of the business owned by an American company. But China’s ByteDance Ltd. remains the majority shareholder in a new U.S. company that will include fresh investments by Oracle Corp. and Walmart Inc. in a future fundraising round.Trump said he wanted the data to stay in American hands, for national security reasons. And he succeeded: Oracle becomes TikTok’s cloud provider, taking over the responsibility of hosting user data on servers within the U.S. But the algorithm itself — the thing that makes TikTok TikTok, and that critics warn can influence public opinion if its recommendations engine is abused — will still belong to ByteDance so national security concerns remain, experts said.TikTok, Hong Kong and More U.S.-China Flashpoints: QuickTakeAnd the government payout? That turned into a vaguely worded promise of new tax dollars, and a new education initiative to teach kids reading and math online.“As for the so-called $5 billion tax to the U.S. Treasury, that refers to an estimate of the corporate income tax and other taxes TikTok will have to pay in coming years as part of its business development,” ByteDance said in a statement Monday. “TikTok is confident in its future but the actual tax amount will have to be determined in accordance with the actual state of the business and American tax structures.”Still, Trump said he was satisfied.“They’re going to be setting up a very large fund,” Trump said Saturday. “That’s their contribution that I’ve been asking for.”The president did get a partial victory. He said the new company will have a Texas headquarters and promised to hire 25,000 Americans, although no breakdown or timeline for the hiring was provided. The board will be American-run. Most importantly, the move wraps up a crisis six weeks before the U.S. election, concluding one of the more extraordinary episodes in a presidency that has been filled with them.“It’s a great deal for America,” Trump said Saturday. “It’ll be a brand new company, it will have nothing to do with any outside land, any outside country, it will have nothing to do with China, it’ll be totally secure, that’ll be part of the deal.”All About Cfius, Trump’s Watchdog on China Dealmaking: QuickTakeStatements like those are causing skeptics to say Trump singled out TikTok for political reasons — either because of a perception its users dislike him, or to bludgeon China — and that he took an agreement that met few of his terms for the same reason. They add that the president’s direct involvement and his acceptance of a deal brokered by a key ally — Oracle founder Larry Ellison — reeks of political interference.“The government should be in the business of citing national security concerns but they shouldn’t be in the business of brokering a back-room deal with a U.S. company,” said Ari Lightman, a professor of digital media and marketing at Carnegie Mellon University. “You have to ask yourself — why didn’t they go through the proper steps?”For national security hawks, a key issue all along was Chinese control of American users’ data. Traditionally, U.S.-developed software and apps were exported abroad — think Facebook or Twitter. TikTok was the first Chinese app to rocket to such popularity in the U.S., giving Beijing a chance to project the sort of “soft power” abroad that it long craved.Trump Blesses Oracle’s TikTok Deal, Sets Up App Store Ban DelayFor Trump, it was more personal, according to a person familiar with the matter. The White House was furious that TikTok users may have encouraged people to request but never use tickets to the June 20 rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The rally was billed as Trump’s first big event after months sheltering from the coronavirus, and the campaign expected tens of thousands of people to show up. In the end, about 6,000 people turned out and Trump was greeted by rows of empty seats.At the same time, a security review of the app was underway. The scrutiny stemmed from ByteDance’s 2017 acquisition of Musical.ly, a lip-synching app based in China but whose majority of users were in the U.S. It was folded into TikTok. ByteDance didn’t report the deal to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. for approval, but two years later the panel contacted ByteDance.The issue simmered into 2020 as tensions between Washington and Beijing soared and the Covid-19 pandemic initially dismissed by Trump began killing tens of thousands of Americans. Cfius opened a formal investigation into the acquisition in June.Oracle Boosts Cloud Ambitions With Help From TikTok and TrumpThe Cfius probe was in keeping with much stricter investigations against China under Trump. He previously blocked three acquisitions by Chinese investors, the most of any president, while numerous other deals have collapsed after the committee raised national security alarms.It was worries about personal data, for instance, that prompted Cfius last year to force the Chinese owner of the gay-dating app Grindr to sell the business.With a Sept. 20 deadline Trump set for a deal looming, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin got to work. By last week, a resolution appeared to have been found. Treasury sent a term sheet to ByteDance that laid out the conditions which were eventually approved: four out of five people on the board would be American, including a representative from Walmart, along with a national-security committee led by an American with cyber-security credentials to oversee any issues that arise.TikTok, Hong Kong and More U.S.-China Flashpoints: QuickTakeIn addition, the sides agreed that the new company — which Mnuchin dubbed TikTok Global — would file for an initial public offering next year. The company will seek a valuation of $60 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter.That seemed to persuade the most significant participants on the Cfius executive committee. Mnuchin and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross were always on board. But even Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, who had long warned about the dangers of China exploiting U.S. user data, eased his own opposition. Several Republican senators who had also expressed early opposition came around.Questionable math is being leaned on to get around Trump’s demand that U.S. investors have majority control of the company. ByteDance will retain an 80% stake in the new company. But because existing U.S. investors hold a 40% stake in ByteDance, counting the new investments by Oracle and Walmart as well as other minority American shareholders, the Trump administration claimed there is 53% ownership by the U.S.Then there are the clear political overtones associated with the new investors. Oracle CEO Safra Catz was on Trump’s transition team and was considered a possible candidate for top jobs including national security adviser and World Bank president. Company founder Ellison hosted a fundraiser for Trump and met with Pompeo along with other tech titans in January.Credibility QuestionsIt’s not just Oracle: Sequoia Capital, a major investor in ByteDance who helped broker the TikTok deal, will also retain its stake in the Chinese company. Sequoia managing partner Doug Leone donated $50,000 last year to Trump Victory, which splits contributions between the campaign and the Republican National Committee. He also gave the same amount that year to America First Action, a super-PAC that supports Trump, although a person familiar said Leone doesn’t have a personal relationship with the president.“There are reasons to be skeptical about President Trump’s own motivations to ban the app, given the perverse political incentives in play,” said Elsa Kania, an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security. “Different rationales and motivations with varying degrees of credibility appear to come into play.”Officials at Sequoia declined to comment. Officials at Oracle didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on whether political factors gave them an edge in getting the deal approved. White House officials didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on that issue or the role the Tulsa rally played in motivating Trump to act.As part of the deal, Oracle will get access to TikTok’s source code and updates to make sure there are no back doors used by the company’s Chinese parent to gather user data, people familiar with the matter said last week. Yet ByteDance will allow Oracle only limited access to view the source code for “safety” purposes and retain full control of its algorithms, the company said in its statement Monday.Security experts said the original source of concern about TikTok still hasn’t been resolved, even with Oracle and the U.S. board having insight into the app’s technology and data.“These sound like great political talking points,” said Michael Coates, chief executive officer of Altitude Networks and former chief information security officer at Twitter. “The whole notion that this is protecting national security is pretty challenging. There are plenty of instances where U.S. companies bundle data and put national security at risk. Picking the odd foreign company that does this and targeting them won’t help.”(Updates with cloud arrangement detail in the sixth paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
India’s famed Taj Mahal and some schools reopened on Monday as authorities pressed ahead with kickstarting the nation’s coronavirus-battered economy despite soaring infection numbers.India, home to 1.3 billion people and some of the world’s most crowded cities, has recorded more than 5.4 million Covid-19 cases, second only to the United States which it could overtake soon.But after a strict lockdown in March that devastated the livelihoods of tens of millions of people, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is reluctant to copy some other nations and tighten the screw on activity again.Instead in recent months his government has eased more and more restrictions including on many train routes, domestic flights, markets, restaurants — and now, visiting the Taj Mahal. »So many people lost their job during the lockdown. People have suffered a lot and it is time the country opens up fully, » said bank official Ayub Sheikh, 35, visiting the Taj with his wife and baby daughter. »We are not afraid of the virus. If it has to infect us, it will, » Sheikh told AFP. « Not many people are dying now. I don’t think it is going to go away soon. We have to get used to it now. »The jaw-dropping white-marble mausoleum in Agra south of New Delhi is India’s most popular tourist site. It usually draws seven million visitors a year, but has been closed since March.Officials said strict social distancing rules were in place and visitors were not allowed to touch the marble. The famous bench where visitors sit for a photo — most memorably Princess Diana in 1992 — has been specially laminated so that it can be regularly sanitised without damage.Early on Monday a couple of hundred of visitors were inside. Security personnel were reminding everyone to wear masks once photos have been clicked. Daily visitor numbers have been capped at 5,000 — a quarter the normal rate. »Coronavirus is there in every country, » Spanish visitor Ainhoa Parra told AFP. « We are taking all the safety measures that we can. We have to be careful but if we have to get infected we will. » »So many livelihoods depend on the Taj. It’s great to be back in business, » said local official Satish Joshi.’Lockdown fatigue’Elsewhere in India, particularly in rural areas where infections are soaring, anecdotal evidence suggests that government guidelines on avoiding the virus are more often ignored than adhered to. »I think, not just in India but all over the world, fatigue with extreme measures that were taken to restrict the growth of the coronavirus is setting in, » said Gautam Menon, professor of physics and biology at Ashoka University, predicting that infections will keep rising as a result.Many experts say that even though India is testing more than a million people per day, this is still not enough and the true number of cases may be much higher than officially reported.The same goes for deaths, which currently stand at more than 86,000, with many fatalities not properly recorded even in normal times in one of the world’s worst-funded healthcare systems.There is however some resistance to Modi’s unlocking of the world’s second-most populated country, which saw its economy contract by almost a quarter between April and June.Schools were allowed to resume Monday on a voluntary basis for students aged 14 to 17, but most Indian states have said it is still too soon.In those states where they can open, schools themselves refused to open and parents are wary of sending their children in.In one rural school in the northeastern state of Assam for instance, out of 400 students only eight showed up on Monday morning. »I am prepared for my son to lose an academic year by not going to school rather than risk sending him, » said Nupur Bhattacharya, the mother of a nine-year-old boy in the southern city of Bangalore.(AFP)
The Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed 31 new cases as of Monday (21 September) afternoon, bringing the country’s total to 57,607.
France’s Iliad moved to become Europe’s sixth-largest mobile phone operator on Monday with plans to purchase Poland’s Play in a 3.5 billion euro ($4.2 billion) deal. Iliad, which has already agreed to buy 40% of Play from two shareholders, said it had now bid for all of the operator at 39 zlotys per share, a 38.8% premium to Play’s Friday close. It said the deal, its third move outside France after buying a minority stake in Ireland’s eir and launching in Italy in 2018, gives Play an equity value of 2.2 billion euros and an enterprise value, including debt, of about 3.5 billion euros.
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