July 16th, 2012
06:16 PM ET

Report: British bank used to launder billions for Iran, terrorists

By James O'Toole

Global banking giant HSBC failed to prevent billions of dollars worth of money transfers that Senate investigators believe were linked to drug cartels and terrorist groups, according to a report released Monday.

The Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations said London-based HSBC failed to review thousands of suspicious transactions and properly vet counterparties over the past decade.

The subcommittee found that HSBC worked extensively with Saudi Arabia's Al Rajhi Bank, some owners of which have been linked to terrorism financing.  Some evidence suggests the bank's "key founder" was "an early financial benefactor of al Qaeda," the report says.

The report also said HSBC's U.S. affiliate handled nearly 25,000 transactions involving Iran between 2001 and 2007, despite U.S. sanctions against the country.  Other HSBC affiliates making transfers to the U.S. frequently stripped information from the transactions that linked them to Iran in order to evade scrutiny.

Some HSBC executives in the U.S. were aware of this practice as far back as 2001, the report says. An outside review commissioned by HSBC found nearly $20 billion worth of transactions between 2001 and 2007 that may have been subject to U.S. sanctions.

HSBC said in a statement ahead of the hearing that it "takes compliance with the law, wherever it operates, very seriously."

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soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. melvinslizard

    "The subcommittee found that HSBC worked extensively with Saudi Arabia's Al Rajhi Bank, some owners of which have been linked to terrorism financing. Some evidence suggests the bank's "key founder" was "an early financial benefactor of al Qaeda," the report says."
    Early al Qaeda was pro-US/anti-Russia. Sounds like somebody in the US gov't didn't get their cut and didn't like it. The only thing worse than a suicide bomber is an average banker.

    July 17, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Reply
  2. Sundance2020

    Life imitating art...Theodore Jerome Cohen's mystery thriller House of Cards: Dead Men Tell No Tales told the same story over a year ago. At least Cohen had the pleasure of playing judge, jury, and executioner by knocking off a bankster right in the first chapter!

    July 17, 2012 at 9:30 am | Reply
    • Sundance2020

      http://www.theodore-cohen-novels.com/houseofcards.html

      July 17, 2012 at 9:32 am | Reply
  3. michaelfury

    http://pulverizedtonearpower.wordpress.com/2012/07/12/pulverized-to-near-power/

    July 17, 2012 at 8:38 am | Reply
  4. Cyrus

    And the swiss bank accounts Romney controls ate off limits media.material??

    Funny.

    July 16, 2012 at 9:00 pm | Reply
  5. 2012marandalaw

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    July 16, 2012 at 6:27 pm | Reply
  6. 2012marandalaw

    Reblogged this on Marinchek-Marn and commented:
    Being Affraid Is Not A Option..Thank You,Stay Safe..From Northeast,Ohio

    July 16, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Reply

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