Liberty and Freedom
Is your bank laundering money for al-Qaeda and Mexican drug lords? It is if you bank at Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation.
"International banking giant HSBC may have financed terrorist groups and funneled Mexican drug money into the US economy through its lax policies, a damning Senate report reveals. The bank’s bosses have apologized for the misconduct.
"David Bagley, HSBC’s Head of Group Compliance, admitted during a Senate subcommittee hearing that the company had made a number of lapses, adding that he planned to resign."
"The findings are the results of a year-long Senate probe into HSBC’s activities, highlighting systemic negligence throughout the bank’s international structure. The probe was published in a 340-page report in Washington on Tuesday.
"HSBC’s activities in Saudi Arabia were brought into question in the report, specifically referencing banking with Al Rajhi Bank. The investigation claims the Saudi bank has links to financing terrorism based on evidence gathered after the September 11 attacks.
Information collated by investigators suggests one of Al Rajhi’s founders was an “early financial benefactor of al-Qaeda.”
"HSBC forbade its affiliates from doing business with the Saudi bank in 2005, but this policy was overturned only a few months later when the banks resumed dealings.
"In addition, the report cites dealings with two Bangladeshi banks thought to have links with terrorist organizations.
"The probe also details how the bank bypassed US safeguards that protect against transactions potentially involving terrorists, drug lords, and rogue regimes. The investigations committee alludes to almost 25,000 transactions to Iran amounting to over $19 billion conducted through the bank's US office over a period of seven years. The bank did not disclose that the funds were being sent to Iran.
"It gives reference to the banking conglomerate’s Mexican affiliate transporting a total of $7 billion in hard cash to HBUS from 2007 to 2008. The sheer quantity of capital transferred raised concerns that some of it came from illegal drugs sales in the US."