HSBC Holdings PLC has been sued by families of American citizens killed in Mexico, who alleged that the bank helped drug cartels launder money to run their businesses and thus, can be held responsible for the deaths, reports said Tuesday. The bank paid a $1.9 billion fine in 2012 to settle a criminal probe into whether it laundered at least $881 million on behalf of drug cartels.
The lawsuit filed Tuesday in a federal court in Brownsville, Texas, argues that the London-based bank should be held accountable for a series of murders in 2010 and 2011 under the U.S. Anti-Terrorism Act, Bloomberg reported. It alleged that HSBC contributed directly to international drug and trafficking trade, and the “brutal acts” that accompanied it, Reuters reported. HSBC reportedly said it would fight the claims in the lawsuit.
“The Mexican drug cartels are terrorists who routinely commit horrific acts of violence to intimidate, coerce, and control the civilian population and the government,” Richard Elias, a lawyer for the victims and their families, said, according to Bloomberg. “HSBC was complicit in laundering billions of dollars for drug cartels and should be held accountable under the Anti-Terrorism Act for supporting their terrorism,” Elias added.