HSBC ‘allowed drug cartels to launder money’ [aljazeera]
July 18, 2012 Leave a comment
HSBC says its executives will apologise for the lapses and promises to fix the problems [Reuters]
Lax controls at Europe’s largest bank, HSBC, allowed Mexican drug cartels to launder billions of dollars through its US operations, an investigation by the US senate has found.
The extensive report on London-based HSBC Holdings PLC by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations also says US regulators knew the bank had a poor system to detect problems but failed to take action.
HSBC executives brushed off complaints from other bank employees, so that the problems persisted for eight years, the report says.
In addition, some HSBC bank affiliates skirted US government bans against financial transactions with Iran and other countries, according to the report.
And HSBC’s US division provided money and banking services to some banks in Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh believed to have helped fund al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups, the report said.
The subcommittee released the report Monday ahead of a Tuesday hearing on the topic. HSBC released a statement saying its executives will offer a formal apology at the hearing.
“We will apologise, acknowledge these mistakes, answer for our actions and give our absolute commitment to fixing what went wrong,” the statement said.
The US justice department said it is conducting a criminal investigation into HSBC’s operations but declined to confirm that the bank is in settlement talks.