HSBC boss quits for failing to stop money laundering…(Still, Nobody Goes To Jail!!!)
HSBC was forced to apologise publicly today before the US Senate – and saw its compliance chief resign – over facilitating a multi-billion-dollar money-laundering operation for drug gangs, terrorists and rogue nations worldwide.
By Louise Armitstead and Richard Blackden
17 Jul 2012
Britain’s biggest bank was “pervasively polluted for a long time” as it allowed funds to be shifted to and from its branches in the United States as far afield as Mexico, Syria, the Cayman Islands, Iran and Saudi Arabia, the hearing was told.
Issuing an apology, Stuart Gulliver, chief executive of HSBC, said: “We have sometimes failed to meet the standards regulators and customer expect… we take responsibility for fixing what went wrong.”
HSBC, the only British bank with US branches, is now braced for a “substantial” fine which analysts said could be up to $1bn (£640m). The latest banking scandal comes in the wake of Barclays’ £290m fines for its role in rigging Libor.
The hearing by the Senate’s Committee on Homeland Security was the culmination of a year-long investigation. Its 335-page report into HSBC saw the committee sift through 1.4m documents and interview 75 HSBC officials, as well as bank regulators. It highlighted damning examples of lax controls and inadequate compliance by staff at HSBC’s 470 US branches.
The bank allegedly ignored specific US measures designed to prevent transactions being made involving terrorists, drug lords and rogue regimes. Two HSBC subsidiaries, for example, processed 25,000 transactions over seven years, worth a total of $19.4bn, without disclosing that the cash had links to Iran. The bank is also alleged to have moved billions of dollars in cash from Mexican subsidiary HBMX to its US network – despite being warned by both US and Mexican authorities that such sums could only be linked to drug trafficking.