THE HSBC bank, the biggest bank in Europe, says it is looking into allegations that it has set up a large number of offshore accounts in Jersey for criminal gangs to launder ‘dirty’ money’, the profits made from drugs and people trafficking.
HSBC bank has just put aside a further $800m (£500m) to cover potential money-laundering fines in the US.
The bank had already put aside $700m after a US Senate report published in July said lax controls had left it vulnerable to money laundering.
Mexican regulators had earlier imposed a fine of $27.5m (£17.7m) on the banking giant for its failure to comply with money-laundering regulations.
Just before that fine was imposed, HSBC’s chief compliance officer resigned over allegations that the bank ignored warnings that Mexican drug money was being allowed to pass through the bank.
The fine is the highest ever imposed by Mexican regulators.
It constitutes 51.5% of the 2011 annual profit of HSBC’s Mexican subsidiary.
Mexico’s National Banking and Securities Commission (CNBV) said it had imposed the fine against HSBC due to its ‘non-compliance with anti-money laundering systems and controls’.
HSBC Mexico issued a statement acknowledging that it failed to report 39 suspicious transactions and had been late in reporting 1,729 others.
‘HSBC Mexico recognises it failed to strictly comply with banking regulations, and with the standards that regulators and clients expect of our institution,’ it said.
Earlier, a United States Senate committee found that HSBC had provided a conduit for ‘drug kingpins and rogue nations’.
After all this – now come the Jersey allegations.
According to the Daily Telegraph, the tax authorities have obtained details of ‘every British client of HSBC in Jersey’ based on information provided by a whistle-blower.
It has been reported that the 4,000 offshore account holders include a well-known drug dealer living in Central America, bankers who face allegations of fraud and a man once dubbed London’s ‘number two crook’.
The US Senate report alleged that staff at HSBC’s global operations had laundered billions of dollars for drug cartels and terrorists in a ‘pervasively polluted’ culture that persisted for years.
The report detailed how HSBC’s subsidiaries cleared suspicious travellers’ cheques worth billions, and allowed Mexican drug lords to buy planes with money laundered through Cayman Islands accounts.
HSBC is one of the banks that the working people of the world are being forced to prop up with trillions of dollars and pounds through the various austerity programmes that are under way, as well as tens of millions of workers losing their jobs, and their pensions, and tens of millions of young people are having their futures sacrificed for.
Capitalism is renowned as the operation of the ‘law of the jungle’, the survival of the fittest, as far as human society is concerned.
Now we have been shown, once again, that at its pinnacle there are groups of bankers who dominate the capitalist world economy, and are the envy of all those who want to get rich under capitalism, who are engaged in criminal activities, even by the standards of bourgeois law. In fact, where the criminal world ends and their world of super-exploitation begins is blurred, to say the least.
This is the group of capitalists and the system that the workers of the world are told that they must sacrifice for, to save from complete collapse.
In fact, this is a system that exhausted, a long time ago, all of its progressive potential and thoroughly deserves to perish at the hands of the working class and the world socialist revolution. There is not a moment to lose in organising its burial.