A RESPECTED businessman had his bank accounts closed and claims he was accused of funding terrorism after he tried to transfer £60,000 to Pakistan.
Javeed Rasul (left), 50, was moved to England when he was just one year old and has built up a successful landlord business which includes more than 50 properties across Hartlepool. He also buys and sells land and properties in Pakistan, so regularly transfers large sums of money between the two countries.
But he was left stunned when a transfer of £60,000 back to Pakistan to buy three acres of land was stopped after concerns the cash could be being used to “fund the Taliban”.
Mr Rasul, of Hutton Avenue, says he walked out of the York Road bank in disgust and sent the money back to Pakistan through an account at the Yorkshire Bank without any questions.
After the episode HSBC bosses then closed the accounts of him, his wife and two young children.
He said: “I was offended by the way I was treated by the HSBC.
“They say on their adverts they are the world’s local bank, but this doesn’t really show that does it?
“I fully understand the concerns over transferring large sums of money, and the security risks.
“I took in two forms of ID as they had requested, my UK driving licence and a utility bill.
“Staff at the bank said they needed other forms of ID, and when I asked why they said it was to do with the political instability and funding of the Taliban.
“At that point I said I didn’t want to hear any more, I was offended and I walked out in disgust.
“If an Irishman went in to transfer money, would he be asked if he had links with the IRA?”
Mr Rasul was then sent a letter informing him that after a review, HSBC had decided to close down his accounts.
His wife Shaista and children Selina, 12, 11-year-old Daniel and Ali, nine, also received the same letters giving them two months notice that their accounts were being shut down.
All funds in the bank accounts were returned to the Rasul family in cheques.
Mr Rasul added: “I just can’t understand it, because I have banked with them for 16 or 17 years and they know where every penny is in my accounts.
“I’ve done bigger transactions that that previously without any hassle.
“I have a meeting every year with the bank, they go through everything and there has never been any issues. They know me, and where my money comes from.
“I’m 50 years old, I called myself as British but the way I have been treated by the HSBC has made me question that.
“I managed to get the money transferred easily enough through the Yorkshire Bank because I also have an account with them.
“But to think that I’m being suspected of transferring money to fund the Taliban has caused me no end of stress and sleepless nights. It’s just wrong.”
In his correspondence from HSBC, Mr Rasul was sent a list of the bank’s terms and conditions for international outward payments.
In a section relating to payments being rejected, one point reads: “You agree that we may delay or stop a payment if we reasonably believe that it is necessary to do so to prevent crime, including money laundering or terrorist financing, or if we are required to do so by a Regulatory Authority.”
A spokeswoman for HSBC said: “We never take the decision to close a customer’s account lightly and understand that the decision can be difficult for a customer to accept.
“However, as a bank committed to controlling and managing risk to the highest international standards, we may decide to close a customer’s account where we do not feel that risk can be managed to those standards.”