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Global banking giant HSBC has raked in nearly £100m by bankrolling Malaysian logging companies who cause widespread rainforest destruction and abuse human rights, a watchdog has claimed.
The bank is also providing financial services to companies widely suspected of systematic bribery and corruption in Sarawak, Malaysia, according to an investigation by The Global Witness.
The region exports more tropical timber than South America and Africa combined and HSBC's loans and services to logging conglomerates have generated at least £80m in interest and fees.
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Picken added: 'In 2004 HSBC brought in progressive world-wide forest policies designed to avoid precisely these sorts of commercial relationships and make the bank a market leader on sustainability. 'It has consistently traded on these commitments in public, yet failed to meet them in practice. The bank should hold its hands up, drop these clients immediately and compensate the victims for the mayhem it has helped cause.