Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC), the country’s financial regulator, has issued a warning against a fraudulent clone website posing as CITIC Bank International, China’s seventh-largest lender in terms of total assets.
The SFC routinely warns about such scams operating in Hong Kong, one of Asia’s paramount financial hubs. The fake CITIC is claiming its shares are registered in Hong Kong, but the watchdog says that it is in no way affiliated with the real SFC-licensed bank or China’s leading brokerage Citic Securities, which is engaged in prime brokerage and security dealings.
The inclusion of CITIC Bank brings to light one of many tactics used by cloning entities – the misuse of the name of international financial services giants. CITIC is not the first banking giant to have clones in Hong Kong. Earlier last year, the SFC warned against clones of Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo & Co, and Citigroup, as well as many financial services providers.
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SFC makes fighting fraud a top priority
The Hong Kong regulator has recently made fighting against corporate fraud its top enforcement priority. Other key tasks include battling insider dealing and market manipulation, intermediary money-laundering, and internal control failures.
The last warning also underlines the significance of its cooperation with the China Securities Regulatory Commission, the mainland’s top securities watchdog.
Cloned firms are a common fraud in which companies mask their fraudulent activities by using details the same as or similar to those of an authorized entity to give the appearance of trustworthiness and legitimacy.
Hence, Hong Kong’s financial regulator reiterates that investors should be extremely cautious in their financial dealings, and it keeps them informed by drawing attention to suspicious operations and unregulated entities that market participants should abstain from doing business with.