HSBC released from United States deferred criminal charges

Andrew Cummings
December 12, 2017

"HSBC lived up to all of its commitments, and, therefore, under the DPA, the Department of Justice will file a motion with the US District Court for the Eastern District of NY seeking the dismissal of the charges deferred by the agreement", the banking giant said in a statement released Monday.

Since reaching the agreement, HSBC has been penalised by the Federal Reserve for foreign exchange fraud and faced fresh allegations of money laundering, it said.

Money laundering is the process of disguising the proceeds of crime so that the money can not be linked to the wrongdoing.

"HSBC is pleased the Department of Justice has recognised HSBC's progress in strengthening its anti-money laundering and sanctions compliance capabilities over the past five years", the statement said.

The DoJ's 2012 settlement with HSBC revealed Mexican and Colombian cartels laundered $881m through HSBC entities, while the bank violated United States sanctions by working not only with Iran, but Libya, Sudan, Burman and Cuba.

U.S. prosecutors have required guilty pleas by banks in a number of settlements since then. The deal - which came four years after the 2008 collapse of Lehman Bros. almost brought down the financial system - was criticized at the time, raising concerns about whether some banks had grown too big to face criminal indictment.

The agreement also saw the appointment of an independent compliance monitor who produced annual assessments of the effectiveness of the group's anti-money laundering and sanctions compliance programme.

As part of the agreements with the US prosecutors and Britain's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), HSBC also installed an independent monitor charged with producing annual reports on the progress of its reforms on fighting financial crime.

But in a statement on Monday, the bank said it had "lived up to all its commitments".

"HSBC is able to combat financial crime much more effectively today as the result of the significant reforms we have implemented over the last five years", Stuart Gulliver, the HSBC chief executive, said in a news release.

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