One of the biggest high street banks, London based HSBC, have been caught up in funding terrorism and money laundering for the Mexican drug cartels.
HSBC’s activities in Saudi Arabia were brought into question in a report, which specifically refers to banking with Al Rajhi Bank.
The investigation claims the Saudi bank has links to financing terrorism, based on evidence gathered after the September 11 attacks.
Investigations suggest one of Al Rajhi’s founders was an “early financial benefactor of al-Qaeda.”
HSBC forbade its affiliates from doing business with the Saudi bank in 2005, but this policy was overturned only a few months later when the banks resumed dealings. In addition, the report cites dealings with two Bangladeshi banks thought to have links with terrorist organizations.
The probe also details how the bank bypassed safeguards that protect against transactions, potentially involving terrorists, drug lords, and rogue regimes.
The investigations committee alludes to almost 25,000 transactions to Iran amounting to over $19 billion conducted through the bank’s US office over a period of seven years.
The bank did not disclose that the funds were being sent to Iran.
On top of this it has been established HSBC has been at the centre of a Narco banking, money laundering scandal, referring to HSBC’s activities in Mexico, highlighting the fact that the country was treated as a long-risk client despite being a known hub for drug trafficking and money laundering.
A report gives reference to the banking conglomerate’s Mexican affiliate transporting a total of $7 billion in hard cash to HBUS from 2007 to 2008.
The sheer quantity of capital transferred raised concerns that some of it came from illegal drugs sales in the US.
The report also implicates the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), a US financial regulator, for failing to regulate HSBC’s activities. The OCC reported multiple failings on the part of HSBC in 2010 to implement anti-money laundering measures, namely its failure to monitor $60 trillion in bank transfers and 17,000 account alerts detailing suspicious activity.
The official intelligence report lays the blame for HSBC’s negligence over the past six years partly at the feet of the OCC for its lack of action in spite of consistent evidence of the banks money laundering issues.
The new report comes after the UK’s largest bank revealed it would have to pay a $1 billion fine to US authorities for money laundering offenses committed between 2004 and 2010.
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