According to a US Senate Report issued today and major news outlets including MSNBC, Europe’s largest bank, HSBC, has “A “pervasively polluted” culture at HSBC allowed the bank to act as financier to clients moving shadowy funds from the world’s most dangerous and secretive corners, including Mexico, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Syria, according to a scathing U.S. Senate report issued on Monday.” The report, titled: US Vulnerabilities to Money Laundering, Drugs, and Terrorist Financing: HSBC Case History “…examines the anti-money laundering (AML) and terrorist financing vulnerabilities created when a global bank uses its U.S. affiliate to provide U.S. dollars, U.S dollar services, and access to the U.S. financial system to high risk affiliates, high risk correspondent banks, and high risk clients.” The US Enacted stronger Anti Money Laundering laws as a part of the PATRIOT act passed in the wake of 9/11. These AML laws were designed to cut of the flow of money to terrorists. In the case of HSBC it appears many of the rules were ignored potentially allowing drug cartels and terrorist to move and launder money.
In a statement emailed to NBCNews.com, the bank said:
We will apologize, acknowledge these mistakes, answer for our actions and give our absolute commitment to fixing what went wrong. We believe that this case history will provide important lessons for the whole industry in seeking to prevent illicit actors entering the global financial system.