On 21, 22, and 24 July 2014, a number of letters were sent by HSBC Bank UK advising that the business accounts of The Cordoba Foundation and the personal accounts of Mr. Anas Altikriti and members of his family, including two minor children, were being closed without further consultation. A period of two months notice was given in which alternative arrangements were to be made with another bank, as HSBC Bank UK was no longer prepared to offer banking services.
In a number of identical letters received, HSBC Bank UK stated that the it had “recently conducted a review of its portfolio of customers and has concluded that provision of banking services to The Cordoba Foundation UK Ltd. now falls outside of our risk appetite”.
It is with the utmost concern that HSBC Bank UK has taken such an unprecedented course of action. It is quite clear that no prior concerns with the account holders had been identified or raised and it remains unclear as to what precisely has prompted the bank to take this wholly unjustified course of action.
Of particular concern, is the fact that in ordering the closure of the accounts, it will create a ‘black mark’ against those concerned and alternative banking services may be difficult, if not impossible to now source. This in itself has the potential to cause significant damage to reputation.
HSBC Bank UK has refused thus far to provide any reasons whatsoever to justify their decision, simply stating “we have taken the decision that we no longer wish to provide you with banking facilities and are closing your account.” All attempts to contact the Bank through the helpline number provided on the letter have failed. Those persons affected have been confronted with a wall of silence.
It is recognised that the right to withhold banking facilities lies with the institution in question, nevertheless, it is wholly inappropriate that a bank can take such a decision that can have such far reaching consequences, without providing any form of justification or redress.
It is also of significance that the Bank has also made a decision to close accounts associated with a number of other Islamic groups or individuals. Without any real justification being disclosed, there is a clear inference that the Bank is making their decisions on wholly discriminatory grounds, which the Bank recognises is illegal.
HSBC Bank UK is hereby asked to:
1. Provide legitimate reasons for why they have taken the decision to close the accounts of The Cordoba Foundation, Mr. Anas Altikriti;
2. Issue a full and unequivocal apology for any potential damage to reputation;
3. Enter immediate dialogue with Mr. Altikriti and/or his representatives to discuss a solution to the perceived problem(s).
Notes to editors:
For formal enquiries and further information, please contact:
9 Bedford Row International
2. The Cordoba Foundation
London W5 1YY
Tel. +44 (0)20 8991 3372
Fax. +44 (0)20 8991 3373