Report on HSBC cites years of illegal behavior

A U.S. Senate investigation has found poor controls at the global bank HSBC allowed Mexican drug traffickers and other criminals to launder billions of dollars into the United States.

A report released before a Senate hearing on the matter today said the London-based bank also did business with firms linked to terrorism and bypassed U.S. financial sanctions against rogue states such as Iran.

It said HSBC executives and U.S. regulators routinely ignored warning signs and failed to stop illegal behavior between 2002 and 2010, effectively giving criminals and terrorists a portal into the U.S. financial system.

HSBC, Europe’s largest bank, has released a statement saying its executives will apologize at the Washington hearing, during which lawmakers will question bank officials and U.S. regulators.

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