After Barclays Bank scandal, it was the turn of the HSBC bank to be in the crosshairs of U.S. authorities for money laundering.
Hearings officers of the British bank HSBC before a subcommittee of the U.S. Senate. The bank is accused of having taken risks in the U.S. financial system by exposing it to possible money laundering related to drug trafficking or terrorist financing.
The report released noted “serious deficiencies” in the anti-money laundering system of the U.S. subsidiary of HSBC, but also the inability of the OCC (Office of the Comptroller of the Currency), a banking regulator to monitor correctly the bank. “At HSBC, the culture was contaminated for a long time,” said Senator Carl Levin, who chairs the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Senate. This 335-page report (pdf) is the result of two years of investigation, and based on the study of more than 1.4 million documents and the hearing of 75 charge of HSBC.
Thus, the bank would launders drug money of Mexican cartels, for example by transferring funds from the brokerage house Casa de Cambio Puebla, linked by U.S. authorities on drug trafficking.
In the report, says Bloomberg, HSBC has also provided funds and services to banks located in Saudi Arabia (Al Rajhi Bank), suspected of having links with terrorist groups.
According to the New York Times, the report also states that the British bank had served six Iranian banks to circumvent U.S. economic sanctions against Tehran (continued nuclear program). In total more than 25,000 transactions totaling more than $ 19.4 billion (15.8 billion euros) were performed, indicates an external audit conducted by Deloitte LLP. According to the survey, similar operations were conducted with North Korea, Cuba, Sudan and Burma.
In his defense, the bank confirmed in a statement that it “is in accordance with the law, wherever it is present.” But she acknowledges, however, “having failed in the past to provide the standards can expect regulators and customers.” The owner of the bank wrote in an email sent to his staff: “We’re going to apologize, recognizing the errors, for our actions and commit ourselves to fix what did not work.” HSBC also stated that had changed his direction last year and it would make changes to strengthen its compliance with rules to prevent money laundering.
HSBC’s net income last year was $ 16.8 billion. It operates in about 80 countries around the world. Its division in the United States is among the 10 largest banks operating in the country.