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Business operators must not offer bribe to bank staff for opening account

Due to the stepping up of international efforts in combating illegal activities including money laundering, terrorist financing and tax evasion in recent years, banks have to take enhanced control measures including a more stringent customer due diligence process to mitigate the potential risks for new customers.  As a result, the account opening process is more complex and requires longer time.


Although opening a bank account is essential to business operations, business operators must not offer advantages (including money or gifts) to bank staff for the latter's approving or expediting the account opening application, otherwise both the business operator and the bank staff may violate the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance (POBO) enforced by the ICAC for offering or accepting a bribe respectively.  The maximum penalty is a fine of $500,000 and seven years' imprisonment.


Hong Kong Business Ethics Development Centre (HKBEDC), under Community Relations Department of the ICAC, strives to help banks and financial institutions guard against corruption and foster an ethical culture. Click here to visit HKBEDC website for more information about anti-bribery laws and HKBEDC's services.


If you suspect corruption, please call the ICAC 24-hour Report Hotline at (852) 25 266 366.

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