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SARs filers granted anonymity following High Court ruling

Jul 12 2011 Martin Coyle, Regulatory Intelligence

Bank employees who report money laundering suspicions have effectively been given the status of police informants in terms of having their identities protected, following a High Court decision. The ruling, which is part of the ongoing landmark Shah v HSBC case, was "very good news" for banks, according to the lawyer representing HSBC. The latest round in the long-running case, in which Shah and another claimant are seeking more than $300m damages from the bank, saw HSBC granted permission to hand the court partially redacted copies of internal files and suspicious activity reports related to the action. The bank had wanted to redact fully the names of all the employees involved, apart from the head of its money laundering reporting office. His Honour Justice Coulson ruled last week that a full redaction was "unjustified" but said that HSBC's desire to protect the identities of its employees was "entirely appropriate". He ordered a specific form of anonymity where the employees would

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