HDFC Bank, on Saturday, appointed accounting and audit firm Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India to carry out an independent forensic enquiry into allegations of money laundering activities by some of its branches.
The bank also appointed Amarchand & Mangaldas and Suresh A Shroff & Co to examine the breaches, if any, of the bank’s code of conduct and ethical standards by any bank officials.
“The bank is committed to the highest standards of compliance, corporate governance and ethics, and has in place systems and procedures to ensure that its business is conducted in compliance with laws and regulations,” a statement issued by the bank said.
An internal departmental enquiry was underway to verify the authenticity of the allegations, it added. This process has been initiated without prejudice, according to the bank.
The statement said that the internal and external audits undertaken previously and the actions taken in this regard were being compiled and reviewed once again to ensure that protection against money laundering activity was robust and adequate.
HDFC Bank has also suspended 20 officials concerned till investigations are completed, sources said.
Another bank named in the sting operation, Axis Bank, said a thorough internal inquiry was underway, and the findings are expected shortly.
A senior-level committee had been constituted to monitor and supervise Axis Bank’s entire investigation process on a daily basis.
“Pending the results of the inquiry, we have advised 16 employees to report to their respective administrative offices,” Axis Bank said in a statement.
Reacting quickly, ICICI Bank suspended 18 officials on Friday, till its own investigations are completed.
Three private banks — ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank — were accused of indulging in money laundering by an online news portal earlier this week.
The footage taken in the sting operation purportedly showed a number of senior executives of the three banks verbally agreeing to take huge amounts of cash from the undercover reporter and putting them into a variety of long-term investment plans so that the black money would be ultimately into white money.
However, no account was opened nor was any cash deposited in these banks.
HDFC Bank has suspended 20 officials, pending results of its investigation