HSBC unveils new CEO for Sri Lanka, Maldives operations

The HSBC bank group has unveiled the identity of its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) who will oversee the company’s business interests in Sri Lanka and the Maldives from later this year, according to media reports.

Patrick Gallagher, present CEO for the multinational banking giant’s operations in Bahrain, will take up the same role for the company within the Indian Ocean nations from April 30, 2013, the Sri Lanka-based Daily Mirror newspaper has reported.

If the appointment receives regulatory approval, Gallagher will be replacing Nick Nocolau as the CEO of HSBC Sri Lanka and Maldives.

Gallager has headed up HSBC’s operation in Bahrain since November 2009.


Police urge caution following false officer report

Police have warned the public to be vigilant against individuals falsely posing as its officers following an isolated incident outside a bank in the capital this week.

Police Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam told Minivan News that the Maldives Police Service had issued a warning against so called “fake” police after it received a report from a member of the public that claimed they had been approached outside a bank by a man claiming to be an officer.  The so-called police officer was alleged to have offered the person  assistance with money they were carrying.

“An individual approached a member of the public saying he was a police officer and offered to assist in transporting their money,” he said.  “This occurred near a bank and we are urging the public to be aware of these type of things.”

Shiyam added that the individual was not wearing a police uniform, though he was dressed smartly and looked “decent”, according to the report of the incident.  When asked about the identity of the individual who was alleged to have posed as a police officer, the sub inspector said that the incident was at present believed to be an isolated event and not an ongoing criminal endeavor.

However, police stressed that the any member of the public being approached by an officer should ask for their name, proof of identity and a follow-on phone number to verify if they are a law enforcement official.

“We do offer to escort the public with amounts of money, but only when they officially request support first,” he said.

Shiyam added that official officers would also wear full police uniform.


Banks given permission for small dollar commission

Banks have been given authorisation by the Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) to place a one percent commission on one and five US dollar bills to try and encourage greater exports of the currency.

Haveeru reported that the MMA had conceded to requests from banks for permission to charge commission on the notes as a result of the high cost and “risk” involved in exporting dollars.

“Banks need to export the dollar bills of small value being collected as a result of the low public demand,” the MMA reportedly said.

Any institutions with a licence allowing the exchange of foreign currency will be able to charge the commission, under the MMA ruling.


US bank failed ‘to spot’ billions of Mexican drug money: Bloomberg

One of largest banks in the US, Wachovia Corporation, “admitted it didn’t do enough to spot illicit funds in handling $378.4 billion for Mexican-currency-exchange houses from 2004 to 2007,” reports Bloomberg writer Michael Smith.

USA and Europe’s biggest banks and financial institutions are handling money from the Mexican drug cartels which export hundreds of tons of cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamines into the US, in a business generating US$39 billion a year.

Banks and institutions involved in handling the money include Bank of America, Wachovia Corporation (now owned by Wells Fargo & Co.), American Express Bank, Western Union, London-based HSBC Holdings Plc, and Mexican units of Banco Santander SA, Citigroup Inc. and HSBC.

“Since 2006, more than 22,000 people have been killed in drug-related battles that have raged mostly along the 2,000-mile (3,200-kilometer) border that Mexico shares with the U.S.,” writes Smith. “In the Mexican city of Ciudad Juarez, just across the border from El Paso, Texas, 700 people had been murdered this year as of mid-June.”

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