London, Feb 26: The British Foreign Office has showed concern over the involvement of Standard Chartered bank in diverting money to the Robert Mugabe-led Zimbabwe Government.
The bank was run by Abersoch-born Lord Davies, British Trade Minister, who till last month was chief executive and then chairman of the bank.
According to The Telegraph, Internal Whitehall emails show the concern at the Foreign Office about the involvement of Standard Chartered Bank in Zimbabwe. The bank is among a handful of foreign banks operating in Zimbabwe and employs 860 people, having 24 branches there.
The documents, released under the Freedom of Information Act, say that Standard Chartered had been "diverting" cash to the regime through a loans scheme.
The email, dated Aug 25, 2008, says: "Standard Chartered risk real reputational damage if seen as passing funds to the Government of Zimbabwe.
"Understand that Standard Chartered has been diverting money to the GoZ due to a legal obligation to do so. But must realise the repercussions of giving money to those responsible for this crisis."
A further email from July last year accuses banks operating in the country of "propping up" the state Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), the paper reported.
The revelations are especially embarrassing for the government because Lord Davies was chief executive of Standard Chartered between 2001 and November 2006, and the bank's chairman from November 2006.
He stood down as chairman on Jan 14, when he became trade and investment minister, replacing Lord Jones of Birmingham.