July 12, 2012
Anyone remember how many billions, HSBC, Europe’s largest beggar bank, borrowed secretly from The Bernank at 0% during 2008-2009…?
Or as an AIG counterparty via Goldman Sachs… $3.5 billion.
This is nothing new for HSBC, which has a sordid history in money-laundering, or global banking in general, which relies on hundreds of billions in illicit accounts as a regular and sometimes requisite (think crisis of 2008) staple of business.
Here are a couple of reminders:
- Wells Fargo (via Wachovia) and BofA were busted 2 years ago
- Mexican Drug Cartel Laundered Millions Via Bank Of America Into U.S. Horse Racing
HSBC will apologize at a July 17 U.S. Senate hearing for anti-money laundering controls that weren’t effective enough, according to an internal memo obtained by Bloomberg News.
“We failed to spot and deal with unacceptable behavior,” Chief Executive Officer Stuart Gulliver said in the note sent to employees yesterday, referring to the period between 2004 and 2010. “It is right that we be held accountable and that we take responsibility for fixing what went wrong.”
Europe’s largest bank will be questioned by U.S. lawmakers about two weeks after a record fine was levied against Barclays for rigging interest rates and its ex-CEO Robert Diamond was grilled in the U.K. HSBC, which has doubled spending on compliance since 2010 to curtail illicit money transfers, may also face a “hefty fine,” Mizuho Securities Asia Ltd. said.
“The real issue here is that the U.S. agencies have cited HSBC several times for being deficient at money-laundering practices as long ago as 2003,” Jim Antos, a Hong Kong-based analyst at Mizuho, said by telephone today. “Nine years later, the situation is apparently not yet under control.”
U.S. prosecutors may take criminal or civil enforcement measures involving the London-based bank amid an investigation into terrorist funding, HSBC said in February.