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Dec 12, 2012, 12.36 PM IST | Source: PTI

HSBC violated anti-money laundering norms: US

HSBC violated anti-money laundering norms: US

From Lalit K Jha Washington, Dec 11 (PTI) British bank HSBC intentionally broke US sanctions on Iran and other countries and laundered Mexican drug money, the US today said, and assessed a whooping USD 1.9 billion in penalties on the banking giant. The bank's breakdowns in anti-money laundering (AML) compliance were particularly egregious because these failures allowed hundreds of millions of dollars from Mexican drug trafficking organisations to flow through accounts in the US, the Treasury Department said in a statement. Despite HSBC's extensive global operations and the substantial resources it had available to manage transnational risk, it failed to help secure the US financial borders and left dangerous gaps that international drug dealers and other criminals readily abused, the statement alleged. "These settlements implicate willful and dangerous practices by one of the world's biggest banks," Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, David S Cohen, said. "HSBC absolutely knew the risks of the business it pursued, yet it ignored specific, obvious warnings. Its failures allowed hundreds of millions of dollars in drug money to pass through its unattended gates," Cohen said. Federal authorities alleged that for a number of years, up to and including 2007, HSBC affiliates in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia processed transactions through US financial institutions that involved countries, including Iran, entities, or individuals, that were subject to US sanctions. HSBC Group's London head office and Dubai branch engaged in payment practices that interfered with the implementation of US economic sanctions by financial institutions in the US, including HBUS, the authorities said. Asserting that HSBC has violated anti-money laundering norms, the US announced to have assessed a whooping USD 1.9 billion in penalties on it. The HSBC has agreed to pay the amount, which is the largest ever in the American banking history. PTI LKJ ASK ASK

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