Confidential documents originating from investigations of HSBC Bank’s US operations by two US attorneys’ offices allege that from 2005, the bank violated the Bank Secrecy Act and other anti-money laundering laws on a massive scale.
HSBC did so, they say, by not adequately reviewing hundreds of billions of dollars in transactions for any that might have links to drug trafficking, terrorist financing and other criminal activity.
In some of the documents, prosecutors allege that HSBC intentionally flouted the law.
The bank created an operation that was a “systemically flawed sham paper-product designed solely to make it appear that the Bank has complied” with the Bank Secrecy Act and is able to detect money laundering, wrote William J Ihlenfeld II, US attorney for the Northern District of West Virginia, in a draft of a 2010 letter addressed to justice department officials.
The allegations couldn’t be confirmed. It is possible that subsequent inquiries have led investigators to alter their views.