telegraph.co.uk / By Louise Armitstead / July 18, 2012
HSBC has been forced to apologise publicly before the US Senate – and saw its compliance chief resign – over facilitating a multi-billion-dollar money-laundering operation for drug gangs, terrorists and rogue nations worldwide.
Britain’s biggest bank was “pervasively polluted for a long time” as it allowed funds to be shifted to and from its branches in the United States as far afield as Mexico, Syria, the Cayman Islands, Iran and Saudi Arabia, the hearing was told on Tuesday.
Issuing an apology, Stuart Gulliver, chief executive of HSBC, said: “We have sometimes failed to meet the standards regulators and customer expect… we take responsibility for fixing what went wrong.”
HSBC, the only British bank with US branches, is now braced for a “substantial” fine which analysts said could be up to $1bn (£640m). The latest banking scandal comes in the wake of Barclays’ £290m fines for its role in rigging Libor.