Banking and crime in Britain

This video from the USA says about itself:

HSBC Couldn’t Track $60 Trillion in Suspicious Activity?

15 December 2012

Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer has failed at prosecuting financial crime, said Eliot Spitzer, former governor and attorney general of New York. “Lanny Breuer, who is the assistant in charge of the Criminal Division — horrendous,” Spitzer said on Current TV yesterday, a liberal cable channel where he hosts a talk show. “Should be gone tomorrow. The decision’s he’s made over and over — simply anathema to the appropriate execution of the law of this United States of America. I am outraged by these decisions.”

Spitzer, the former New York governor who made his name prosecuting Wall Street crime when he was the state’s attorney general, made his comments on The Young Turks, a Current TV show hosted by Cenk Uygur.”

HSBC was able to track Eliot Spitzer’s 3 deposits to a holding account for an escort service. But they couldn’t track $60 trillion in suspicious activity transfers from drug cartels and al-Qaeda that benefited them? Could it be because Spitzer was investigating the banks? Cenk Uygur breaks down the financial hypocrisy.

From daily News Line in Britain:

Tuesday, 12 December 2017


HOME SECRETARY Amber Rudd has warned that billions of pounds have been laundered through the City of London. She has plans for a new national economic crime centre, with the power to task the Serious Fraud Office to investigate the worst cases of fraud, money laundering and corruption.

The move is part of a revised anti-corruption strategy that targets ‘corrupt insiders’ in sectors including policing, prisons and border force, and pledges greater transparency over who owns and controls businesses to improve trust in Britain as a place to do business.

Rudd’s plan is in fact far too little too late! The foxes have run amok in the hen house for decades. The working class equates banking with robbery, after it had to endure generations of austerity to wipe out the debts of the bankers from the 2008 crash onwards.

On the same day that Rudd made her announcement, it was also announced that the HSBC bank no longer faces the threat of prosecution in the US over allegations of money laundering billions in drug money.

HSBC had signed a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) – a form of probation – with the US Department of Justice in 2012 to avoid facing criminal charges for allegedly laundering hundreds of millions for Mexican drug barons, and acting as a conduit for ‘drug kingpins and rogue nations’.

HSBC says the DPA has now expired and the bank has paid US authorities a record $1.9bn (£1.42bn) settlement. All is now well, or is it? In mid-November it was announced that HSBC had agreed to pay £266m to French authorities to settle a long-running investigation into tax evasion by French clients.

The settlement between HSBC’s Swiss Private Bank and the French prosecutor, was the first such deal to be struck under new French rules introduced in 2016 to allow companies to settle without any finding of guilt.

Also in November 2017 Lord Peter Hain told Parliament he had asked the Treasury to refer an unnamed UK bank, that turned out to be HSBC, for investigation into possible involvement in money laundering on behalf of the Gupta family and South Africa’s President Zuma!

In a letter, seen by the BBC, he named HSBC and said it ignored a warning about large transfers of cash. The Guptas are alleged to have bought influence in government in order to loot state enterprises. Hain called for UK authorities to examine the role of British banks in the scandal!

The world banking system is criminal. It won’t reform. It doesn’t need a slap on the wrist and then rescue when it collapses, with working class living standards paying the price – it needs expropriation.

In fact the 2008 banking collapse is due to be replicated but on an even greater scale after trillions of additional debt, quantitative easing money, has been piled up worldwide. In line with this vast debt, there is now a new ‘imaginary would-be currency’ – the Bitcoin, a symbol on a computer screen masquerading as money.

This digital currency was launched on the CBOE Futures Exchange in Chicago at 23:00 GMT Sunday, allowing investors to gamble on whether Bitcoin prices will rise or fall. That casino move is expected to be followed next week by a listing on the rival Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

Investors can now gamble on Bitcoin rising or falling in price without actually owning them. Nobel Prize economist Joseph Stiglitz has accused their innovation of having no intrinsic value beyond supporting money laundering and tax avoidance. The big banks will be pleased!

It may become just what the bankers have ordered – just before the bubble of debt and fictitious value explodes, and a new massive crash takes place, for which the working class will be required to pay the full price!

Scotland: Bank refused to close woman’s joint account unless she attended meeting with her rapist: here.

British government helped criminal HSBC bank

This video from the USA says about itself:

HSBC allowed money laundering, says US Senate

17 July 2012

HSBC Bank has been allowing money laundering to happen right under its nose, according to a scathing report by the US Senate. Money suspected to come from drugs and terrorism deals.

Apparently HSBC Holdings plc has allowed the bank to act as a conduit for monies resulting from these shady underworld dealings from places like Mexico, Iran, the Cayman Islands, Saudi Arabia and even Syria!

Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations said “The culture at HSBC was pervasively polluted for a long time.” The report also concluded that top US bank regulator the Comptroller of the Currency, had failed to monitor HSBC properly.

As we all know, banks around the world are on the ropes right now and so this news is likely to get under the noses of anyone who’s had enough of any of their ‘anti-customer, pro-profit’ antics. …

Written and Presented by Marverine Cole.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Osborne intervened in HSBC probe

Wednesday 13th July 2016

CHANCELLOR George Osborne sought to influence an official criminal investigation into money-laundering allegations against HSBC bank, a US report claimed yesterday.

The report, dubbed “Too big to jail,” names Mr Osborne as having intervened in the US investigation by sending a letter in September 2012 to the chairman of the Federal Reserve — the US’s cantral bank.

It also accuses Britain’s Financial Services Authority of having “hampered” the probe.

HSBC was not prosecuted over the allegations in the US because officials were concerned it would cause a global financial disaster. The bank was instead fined £1.2 billion by US authorities.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said: “It is not acceptable for any institution to place itself above the law, however financially important.

“It is hard to envisage circumstances where the Chancellor of the Exchequer should be using his office to interfere in a criminal investigation.”

See also here.

HSBC money launderers protected by Osborne and top US officials: here.

UK BANKS HSBC and Standard Chartered have been linked to a serious corruption scandal in South Africa, with the Serious Fraud Office looking to investigate how deeply they are involved: here.

The shadow hand of HSBC: from drug lords to the House of Lords. Cartel drug money, pernicious Saudi financial bodies, tax evasion and the Opium Wars. MILES ELLINGHAM outlines the moral apathy of Europe’s biggest bank, and the Conservative government’s failure to reprimand: here.

HSBC bank in Colombian murder scandal

This video from Canada says about itself:

Karl Pruner of ACTRA interviews Yessika Hoyos Morales, human rights lawyer and daughter of murdered trade union activist from Colombia, about the proposed trade agreement between Canada and her country – part 1 – recorded in Ottawa for Straight Goods News on 26 May 2009.

This video is the sequel.

By Joana Ramiro in Britain:

HSBC owners grill boss over murder claims

Saturday 23rd April 2016

Lobbyists: Quit Colombian coal horror

SHAREHOLDERS in banking behemoth HSBC grilled group chief executive Stuart Gulliver yesterday on investments in a coal firm accused of murder and rights abuses.

Investors and campaigners attended HSBC’s annual general meeting in London where Mr Gulliver was grilled over the bank’s £3.7 billion coal investments, in particular in US firm Drummond.

Drummond was accused of implication last year in over 3,000 murders and 55,000 displacements in Colombia.

“For as long as HSBC’s addiction to coal continues to blind them to the human rights abuses this disastrous industry entails, Stuart Gulliver and other executives at the bank are complicit in Drummond’s crimes and have blood on their hands,” said ethical investment lobbyist Move Your Money campaign manager Fionn Travers-Smith.

“One major funder has already pulled out from financing Drummond’s continued operations on due diligence grounds, citing concerns over these human rights abuses. HSBC can and must do the same.

“Failure to do so not only calls into question the bank’s due diligence policies, respect for inalienable human rights and approach to the climate crisis, it also undermines the judgment of HSBC’s board members and their ability to manage a compliant and law-abiding bank.”

Campaigners demanded that the bank keep its commitment to environmentally friendly practices, including those made at the Paris COP21 climate summit in December 2015.

Three-hundred letters have been sent to Mr Gulliver requesting that HSBC withdraw from its coalmining investments.

Shareholders also quizzed the CEO over the bank’s tax avoidance record, revealed by the Panama Papers leak.

“Another year, another huge dollop of cream for HSBC’s fat cats,” said Robin Hood Tax campaign spokesman David Hillman.

“Instead of cosying up to the fat cats, George Osborne needs to rein in the bank’s excesses.”

At the time the Star went to print HSBC had not yet been able to comment on the matter.

HSBC and murders in Colombia

Colombia: Sierra Nevada Indigenous leader murdered: here.

HSBC bank, Citibank in corruption scandal

This video from the USA says about itself:

Leaked HSBC Bank Files Expose Corruption

9 February 2015

Leaked HSBC files showing how the Swiss bank helped clients dodge millions in taxes have been unearthed after an investigation by journalists from 45 countries in The International Consortium of Investigative Journalism. The list of wealthy clients in the leaked documents includes criminals, celebrities, athletes, and politicians. Have these claims of tax evasion, fraud, and criminal dealings damaged the idea of banking secrecy? We take a look at how HSBC allowed this to happen despite their supposed attempts at reform, in this Lip News clip with Jackie Koppell.

By Zach Carter, Senior Political Economy Reporter of the Huffington Post in the USA:

Big Banks Aided Firm At Center Of International Bribery Scandal

Unaoil relied on both banks as it cut deals with corrupt regimes.

04/02/2016 07:37 am ET | Updated 2 hours ago

No business can operate without bankers — not even the bribery business.

British financial giant HSBC and American bailout kingpin Citibank processed transactions, managed money and vouched for Unaoil, a once-obscure firm that is now at the center of a massive international corruption scandal. Police raided Unaoil’s Monaco offices and interviewed its executives on Thursday, a day after The Huffington Post and Fairfax Media first exposed the company’s practices. Law enforcement agencies in at least four nations are involved in a wide-ranging probe of the company and its partners.

Halliburton, KBR and other corporate conglomerates relied on Unaoil to deliver them lucrative contracts with corrupt regimes in oil-rich nations. But without the help of banks like HSBC and Citibank, none of Unaoil’s operations would have been possible.

Both Citibank and HSBC declined to comment on whether Unaoil or the Ahsani family, who own and operate the firm, remain their clients.  …

Two federal statutes, the Bank Secrecy Act of 1970 and the Patriot Act of 2001, make it a crime for banks to knowingly process transactions related to illegal activity or to ignore red flags that they may be allowing illegal cash to flow through the financial system. Whether Citibank or HSBC broke the law depends on whether investigators determine that Unaoil’s deals were illegal and whether the banks knew or should have known about that.

Thousands of internal Unaoil emails obtained by HuffPost and Fairfax Media make clear that both HSBC and Citibank were intimately involved in Unaoil’s complex finances.

In Kazakhstan, Unaoil helped U.S. energy conglomerate KBR and British oil company Petrofac secure millions of dollars of work on the Kashagan oil field, one of the biggest fossil fuel discoveries of the 21st century. The joint contract was facilitated by huge payments that Unaoil made to a consultant working for Kazakhstan’s state-owned oil company. That arrangement could potentially run afoul of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which bars companies that do business in the United States from paying bribes to foreign government agents.

The KBR money went through HSBC’s Private Bank subsidiary in Monaco, according to emails. The Petrofac funds went through Citibank’s affiliate in Geneva, Switzerland, until late 2008, when they began flowing through HSBC. HSBC also executed trades in shares of Petrofac stock on behalf of Unaoil. On the Kazakhstan deal alone, HSBC processed millions of dollars in payments to Unaoil from KBR.

Unaoil deliberately structured bank accounts to obscure its dealings from other companies and legal authorities. In September 2008, for instance, the firm was negotiating a contract with Weatherford, a U.S. chemical company that was paying Unaoil to help it get business with the Iraqi government. Unaoil finance manager Sandy Young sent an email to the firm’s leadership explaining why the firm wanted to shield as many bank accounts as possible from Weatherford, which was required to perform due diligence on Unaoil under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Unaoil eventually secured a lucrative deal with the Iraqi government on behalf of Weatherford that involved paying kickbacks to senior Iraqi officials.

“Restricting the audit rights to the bank account where [Weatherford] monies have been transferred into is certainly preferred with advance warning and inspection during normal working hours,” Young wrote. “As it stands today we use such several sub-accounts only to collect money from principals (we do not make payments from these sub-accounts other than to transfer funds out to our main account from which all payments are made). So with such restrictions all Wfd. would be able to see will be their payments coming in and subsequent transfers of funds out of this account to our main account.”

In other words, money from major Western corporations went into one account, which was then transferred to other accounts, which in turn was used to pay various officials. This made it harder for outsiders to track Unaoil’s funds. It is not clear from the emails what the company’s bankers knew about the legality of Unaoil’s activities. But it is very clear that Unaoil trusted both HSBC and Citibank with the detailed orchestration of its accounts.

Valerie Kanat and Robert Troxler were in charge of Citibank’s Unaoil business. When Troxler left Citibank in early 2007 to start his own firm, Unaoil decided to keep him as an investment adviser, while continuing to work with Kanat at the bank. Ata Ahsani explained the decision in a March 14, 2007, email to Kanat that suggests Troxler had deep knowledge of the firm’s financial complexities.

“We value his advice and even more his ability to coordinate all our investment activities across all our banks/funds etc.,” Ahsani wrote.

Troxler and Kanat did not respond to requests for comment. Citibank said Kanat left the company in 2009.

HSBC and Citibank have histories of corruption. In 2012, HSBC was fined $1.9 billion for laundering drug money and violating U.S. sanctions against Iran. In 2015, it paid Swiss authorities $43 million to settle allegations that it helped the global elite illegally dodge taxes. Citibank was fined $140 million last year for violations of money laundering laws related to its work with an energy company involved in a bribery scandal with the Mexican government. The bank is currently being investigated for its role in the bribery scandal at FIFA, the international soccer organization.

In addition to managing Unaoil’s accounts, HSBC also vouched for the company, helped it win business and loaned money to members of the Ahsani family. In October 2004, Unaoil asked HSBC to send a letter to the Iraqi government vouching for the company as a legitimate business in sound enough financial shape to follow through on its bid for a government contract. In September 2007, HSBC helped Unaoil arrange for a bid bond from the Trade Bank of Iraq so that it could bid on a separate piece of business. And Cyrus Ahsani, a top official at Unaoil and son of its founder, took out a loan from HSBC in 2007 to help him buy Villa Beaulieu in Monaco, a lavish estate with marble-floored balconies and high-end furniture imported from Italy and Paris.

Unaoil was so close with HSBC that in November 2007, Saman Ahsani — another member of the family — sent an email to bank officials Keith Campbell and James Dodson asking if HSBC would be interested in financing a project with a host of oil companies in Kazakhstan.

“I feel I owed it to our long-standing relationship with HSBC Private Bank to give you first right of refusal – at any rate it doesn’t hurt us to inject some competition into the fee discussions!” Ahsani wrote. “But as we discussed, this is one of the more straight forward transactions we are involved in and, I feel, a good starting point for our relationship with the Corporate bank – after which hopefully you will have enough comfort to begin discussing our more exotic activities, such as our work with Rolls Royce in Iraq where we are just about to start trading, installing and commissioning (ie. technical trading) their turbines for the South Oil Company.”

“Exotic” is an apt descriptor of Unaoil’s activities with Rolls Royce in Iraq. According to emails, Unaoil paid thousands of dollars a day to stay in the good graces of a senior Iraqi oil official in order to help secure a pricey contract for Rolls Royce to make generators. Rolls Royce is currently cooperating with an investigation by the British Serious Fraud Office.

Unaoil also capitalized on its relationships with Citibank and HSBC to win business with new clients. As money laundering standards tightened after the passage of the Patriot Act, many companies began requesting more stringent details about Unaoil’s operations. When German manufacturer Man Turbo pressed the firm for credentials in the fall of 2007, Unaoil’s response included “bank recommendations” from both HSBC and Citibank.

Citibank also had a cozy relationship with the Ahsani family. In March 2007, Kanat secured VIP tickets for Ahsani brothers Saman and Cyrus to attend the elite Top Marques car show in Monaco. That summer, she got them in the room with members of the Chinese government.

“There will be interactions with senior government officials as well as the who’s who in the Chinese business community, providing deep investment insights into China,” Kanat wrote in an email.

Kanat booked the Ahsani clan for a 2007 conference in Dubai and offered to help them obtain discounts on luxury hotels. She got the family access to an exclusive dinner-and-drinks event in the south of France at the Grand Hotel du Cap Ferrat held in August 2008. When Cyrus couldn’t attend, his brother Sassan mocked him via email, “U is gay.”

The Ahsanis thanked Kanat for her efforts by sending her a gift in January 2009.

“Dear Ata, Samy and Cyrus,” she wrote. “I have received this morning at home a lovely gift! It was a very good surprise! I thank you very much for this kind thought.”

Unaoil + Panama Papers = It hasn’t been a good few days for HSBC. (Ben Walsh, The Huffington Post)

A middleman who received millions of dollars from Unaoil — a Monaco-based firm now at the center of an international bribery scandal — in return for improperly influencing officials in U.S.-occupied Iraq was also operating businesses in America. He did all this under the nose of the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI — for years, without getting caught: here.

‘HSBC bank complicit in Mexican drug murders’

This video from the USA says about itself:

HSBC sued for aiding Mexican drug cartels

14 February 2016

By Genevieve Leigh in the USA:

Families of Americans killed by Mexican drug cartels sue banking giant HSBC

16 February 2016

On February 9, four US families who lost loved ones to Mexican drug cartel violence in 2010 and 2011 filed an unprecedented lawsuit against HSBC Holdings, HSBC Bank USA, and HSBC México S.A. The suit charges that the banking giant knowingly supplied terrorist organizations, namely four major drug cartels, with “material support” by laundering billions of dollars in the years leading up to the murders.

Among the victims cited in the case is US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Special Agent Jaime J. Zapata who was ambushed and murdered by the infamous drug cartel, Los Zetas, while on temporary assignment in central Mexico in 2011. The case received national attention after confirmed reports that at least one of the weapons used to kill him was linked back to the US government. The AK-47 was one of the many weapons essentially funneled to the drug cartels as part of the federal operation known as “Fast and Furious,” in which the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms deliberately allowed firearms dealers to sell weapons to illegal straw buyers in hopes of tracing them back to the cartels.

Other victims included in the lawsuit are Rafael Morales Jr., who was abducted just outside a church on his wedding day, along with his brother and uncle, by members of the Sinaloa cartel with the collaboration of the local police force. All three were later found dead of asphyxiation, their heads wrapped in plastic and duct tape.

Also included in the lawsuit are Lesley and Arthur Redelfs, who were both shot to death in Ciudad Juarez on their way home from a children’s birthday party hosted by the US Consulate where Lesley was employed. Lesley Redelfs was four months pregnant.

The basis of the case rests on the US Anti-Terrorism Act, which was modified in the aftermath of 9/11 to allow victims to seek compensation from any organization that supplies terrorist groups with material support or resources. While the US government has not officially labeled them as terrorist organizations, the suit cites the more than 100,000 murders and tens of thousands of disappearances since 2006 in arguing for the right to victims’ compensation.

HSBC’s guilt in laundering billions of dollars for drug cartels is irrefutable. The details of the many, well documented occurrences of the bank’s sidestepping, and in most instances outright disregard for banking laws exposed in the legal proceedings of this case and a related 2012 case are overwhelming. The complaint filed by the plaintiffs’ in Brownsville, Texas on February 9, reveals that HSBC’s Mexican branches routinely accepted and processed exorbitant amounts, hundreds of thousands and sometimes millions of US dollars from clients with no identifiable source of income.

The complaint reads, “HSBC intentionally implemented criminally deficient anti-money laundering programs, processes, and controls, which were designed to guarantee that billions of dollars of illicit proceeds would go through its banks undetected or unreported.” It goes on to explain that in many cases these funds were even delivered in custom designed boxes made to fit the dimensions of the teller windows.

In spite of the deliberately lax, and during certain periods nonexistent, regulatory system, the compliance function at HSBC Mexico was still able to catch suspicious activity. In December 2008, there were 675 accounts pending closure based on suspicion of money laundering activity. Closures were ordered on 16 of those accounts in 2005, 130 in 2006, 172 in 2007, and 309 in 2008, yet all 675 of these accounts remained open well into 2009, continuing to allow money launderers to make bulk cash deposits.

HSBC Mexico’s former director of money laundering deterrence, in an exit interview following his resignation, was quoted as saying that he believed senior management had “absolutely no respect for AML [Anti-money laundering] controls and the risks to which the Group was exposed and had no intention of applying sensible or appropriate approaches.” The report goes on to explain that the former director attributed the behavior to what he characterized as “a culture [of] pursuing profit and targets at all costs.”

HSBC executives received repeated and explicit warnings about the large scale money laundering schemes from outside sources such as the US State Department as early as 2006, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network—a bureau of the US Treasury Department—as well as several internal warnings throughout 2007 and 2008. Despite this, HSBC Mexico still accepted over $4.1 billion in US dollar cash deposits in 2008, a record amount for the branch. It is widely believed that many banks, including HSBC, only managed to stay afloat through the 2008 financial crisis by catering to these international drug cartels.

The money laundering that is the basis of this new lawsuit was proven in a 2012 prosecution by the US Justice Department. The case ended in a “preferred prosecution agreement” in which the court gave the multinational bank what amounted to a free pass for the largest drug money laundering case in history. Under the conditions of this agreement the bank agreed not to contest the charges of failing to maintain an effective anti-money-laundering program, and violating the Trading With the Enemy Act and the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

What made this case unique, aside from the huge amount of funds proven to have been laundered (at least $881 million), was the Justice Department’s brazen acknowledgement of the motives behind its failure to pursue a more aggressive prosecution, namely, the protection of the global capitalist financial markets.

Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer at a press conference justifying why criminal charges were not brought against the bank explained, “HSBC would almost certainly have lost its banking license in the US, the future of the institution would have been under threat and the entire banking system would have been destabilized.” Meaning, the big banks and other multibillion-dollar corporations are exempt from the law so long as they continue lining the pockets of the ruling aristocracy. This decision exposed decisively, once again, the inextricable and corrupt relationship between the various branches of the government and the global financial oligarchs.

The 2012 decision brought down by a Brooklyn federal judge was admittedly not based on any principled fulfillment of the law. Rather, it served to establish a more tangible basis for the legal shielding that had been regularly taking place for this type of giant corporation deemed “too big to jail.”

In lieu of any criminal charge against the responsible parties, the bank was instead fined $1.9 billion, an amount equal to barely five weeks worth of profits for HSBC and far less than it accrued through its laundering of drug money. It constituted a fairly minor cost of doing business. Not a single day of jail time was demanded for the bank executives, who had essentially functioned as the financial arm of the drug cartels.

The relationship between massive international banks such as HSBC and the Mexican drug cartels like Los Zetas and Sinaloa has been one of mutual benefit. Both organizations are driven by an insatiable need for profit demanded by the capitalist system and both are indifferent to the criminal methods by which it is gained.

However, as this case so clearly shows, it is not simply the banks who are complicit in the massive growth and influence of these drug cartels. The banks play an important role in providing a financial system to manage their money, but it is the US Justice Department that has sanctioned such criminal behavior, and the US government as a whole that has created and perpetuated the conditions under which such corrupt and violent drug cartels could thrive.

The US government’s support for Mexico’s “drug war” begun in 2006 has done nothing to curb the growth of the drug cartels and instead has arguably served to intensify it. The Merida Initiative implemented by the US government in 2008, supplied Mexico with over $2 billion in arms aid, provided military training of security forces and sent “advisers” across the border. With large sections of Mexico’s officials and law enforcement officers working in collaboration with the drug cartels, much of these funds and resources have aided the very groups they were meant to combat. One report estimates that the cartels spend more than a billion dollars each year just bribing the Mexican municipal police.

In the case of Rafael Morales, it was in fact the local police force who accompanied the Sinaloa cartel and barricaded the road to the church and it was arms provided by the US government that were used against Zapata in 2011.

On closer examination, the origins of these drug cartels themselves lie in the relations between the US and Mexican governments. Before becoming Los Zetas, the original members of the violent drug cartel were a special forces unit of the Mexican Army trained in the United States at the School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Georgia. If HSBC is found guilty of providing material “means and resources” to these terrorist organizations then it seems there should be ample evidence and grounds to also indict the US government as well.

Whatever the outcome of the recent lawsuit, the case has exposed once more the fraudulent character of the “war on drugs,” as well as the staggering levels of criminality of the highest reaches of the financial aristocracy and of the political institutions that represent it.

Dutch Rabobank is accused of similar crimes.

Hillary Clinton’s foundation money from criminal banksters

This video from the USA says about itself:

Clinton Foundation Took Donations From Criminal Banksters

14 February 2016

Hillary Clinton keeps telling us that she’s gonna be really tough on bankers, all while her campaign and her personal finances have been enriched by the very same banksters. Cenk Uygur, host of The Young Turks breaks down a story about corrupt bankers donating money to the Clinton Foundation. Tell us what you think in the comment section below.

“The charitable foundation run by Hillary Clinton and her family has received as much as $81m from wealthy international donors who were clients of HSBC’s controversial Swiss bank.

Leaked files from HSBC’s Swiss banking division reveal the identities of seven donors to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation with accounts in Geneva.

They include Frank Giustra, a Canadian mining magnate and one of the foundation’s biggest financial backers, and Richard Caring, the British retail magnate who, the bank’s internal records show, used his tax-free Geneva account to transfer $1m into the New York-based foundation.

Mr Caring gives lots of money to the British Conservative party as well.

Hillary Clinton has expressed concern over growing economic inequality in the US and is expected to make the issue a cornerstone of her widely anticipated presidential campaign in 2016. However, political observers are increasingly asking whether the former secretary of state’s focus on wealth inequality sits uncomfortably with the close relationships she and her husband have nurtured with some of the world’s richest individuals.”

Read more here.

HSBC has its Al Qaeda and drug bosses’ money laundering and deforestation scandals as well.

Why HSBC keeping its headquarters in the UK is bad news for the economy: here.

Eight years later, Bill Clinton is causing headaches for his wife again: here.

Hillary Clinton Should Ask for Black America’s Forgiveness Before She Asks for its Vote: here.

Wall Street donors account for 40 percent of super PAC funds in US election: here.

The ninth Republican presidential debate of an already interminable primary campaign was another two-hour session of reactionary posturing and mutual mudslinging in which the four leading candidates denounced each other as liars—and were telling the truth when they did so. The debate was held in South Carolina, a week before the February 20 Republican primary. Billionaire demagogue Donald Trump currently leads in state polls, with about one-third of the vote, followed by Texas Senator Ted Cruz, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Florida Senator Marco Rubio, in that order: here.

HSBC bank’s British election blackmail

This 2011 music video from Brazil is called Is It A Crime – Sade Show, HSBC Arena, Rio de Janeiro.

Little did singer Sade then suspect about the crimes of HSBC bank, after which the theater where she sang was named …

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

HSBC attacked for political blackmail

Saturday 25th April 2015

Bank threatens to relocate abroad if Britain quits the EU

by Lamiat Sabin

SCANDAL-HIT HSBC was accused of pre-election blackmail yesterday after threatening to relocate its headquarters abroad if Britain considers pulling out of the European Union.

The banking giant is considering escaping regulation after being hit by levies that cost the group a combined £860million in the past two years after crackdowns of money laundering and foreign exchange rigging.

Chairman Douglas Flint told the HSBC group’s annual general meeting yesterday that the potential move is in response to “regulatory and structural reforms” in the wake of the financial crisis that first erupted in 2008.

The threat to move to a more accommodating country comes after the Tory manifesto recently stipulated that a referendum into the country’s EU membership would be held.

Two campaigners protested outside the HSBC meeting dressed as bankers holding swag bags and champagne bottles next to an Only Fools and Horses-style Robin Reliant carrying the words: “Tax dodgers, crooked traders, HSBC.”

One investor, Michael Mason-Mahon, asked in the meeting: “Which country are you likely to go to? How many countries have you not committed illegal and criminal behaviour in?”

Mr Flint, who had apologised for “unacceptable” activities, replied that it was “essential that we position HSBC in the best way to support the markets and customer bases critical to our future success.”

Secretary of the Scottish Campaign Against Euro Federalism John Foster said that Britain’s membership of the EU only benefits banking fat cats and not workers.

HSBC wants the City of London to remain a lightly regulated base from which to control financial services in the EU. It was precisely this type of relationship that precipitated the financial crisis,” he said.

“It continues to suck savings out of the real economy and subordinate Britain to neo-liberal EU regulations. Working people would be better off outside the EU and with banking under public control.”

And the threat seems to have worked in putting fear into Tory Chancellor George Osborne, who said: “If we proceed in this country with an anti-business set of policies we are going to drive companies abroad, we are going to see jobs lost.”

HSBC, which originated in Hong Kong, took over Midland Bank in Britain in 1992 and shifted its headquarters to London.

HSBC Holdings bank has announced that 25,000 jobs, just under 10 percent of the workforce, are to be cut as part of a major global restructuring. A further 25,000 jobs are also under threat: here.

HSBC ‘too big to obey banking laws’, and too big to jail?

This video says about itself:

HSBC SWISSLEAKS – The Al-Qaeda connection

12 February 2015

SWISSLEAKS – Did HSBC funnel funds to Al-Qaeda? Revelations keep coming from the so-called SwissLeaks list of clients who stached cash in Switzerland with the bank.

Frederik OBERMAIER, investigative journalist for German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung who connected the dots between Swiss Leaks, the so-called Golden Chain list of alleged Al Qaeda financiers and those 28 pages from the US Congress’ 9/11 Report that the Bush administration redacted tells us more on FRANCE 24.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

HSBC is ‘cast-iron certain’ to breach banking rules again, executive admits

Exclusive Bank’s global head of sanctions told monitors in private meeting that HSBC’s size made large-scale regulatory breaches a virtual inevitability

Harry Davies and James Ball

Thursday 2 April 2015 14.50 BST

A senior HSBC executive has privately admitted that the bank is “cast-iron certain” to have another major regulatory breach in the future, and is struggling on multiple fronts to clean up its worldwide operations.

Global head of sanctions Lee Hale – whose recorded comments appear to contrast with public statements from HSBC’s chief executive that the bank has fundamentally transformed itself after recent scandals – said gaps remained in the bank’s compliance with sanctions policies and the screening of certain financial transactions.

Stuart Gulliver, HSBC’s chief executive since 2011, and Rona Fairhead, chair of HSBC North America as well as the BBC Trust, have repeatedly assured the UK parliament that the bank today is markedly different from when its Swiss branch facilitated large-scale tax evasion, or when its Mexican branch was found by US authorities to be complicit in multimillion-dollar money-laundering for drug cartels.

“In terms of actually tightening HSBC, making it a simpler business, making it a business that actually follows the highest standards of money-laundering controls, knowing our customers and tax transparency, substantial root-and-branch reforms have taken place,” Gulliver told the Commons public accounts committee in February.

But an audio recording, heard by the Guardian, of a confidential meeting held in the last three months reveals that Lee Hale set out a much more complex picture of the bank’s progress in bringing its procedures into line with what authorities expect.

In a statement, HSBC said it did not recognise the comments in the recording, which it said had been taken out of context. The bank said it was unable to provide specific examples of inaccuracies by the time of publication.

Hale was meeting with independent lawyers monitoring HSBC as part of a controversial 2012 deal with the US Department of Justice, in which the bank avoided prosecution over sanctions-busting and money-laundering in its Mexican branch in exchange for paying a $1.9bn fine and receiving additional regulatory scrutiny for a period of five years. The deferred prosecution agreement was signed by the then US attorney for the eastern district of New York, Loretta Lynch, who is now Barack Obama’s nominee for US attorney general.

During the meeting, which lasted several hours, Hale set out the bank’s achievements in updating its compliance procedures and strengthening its reporting and its financial controls in a number of different areas of its global operations.

He told the monitors that the bank’s size made large-scale breaches a virtual inevitability, and said he was not yet “comfortable” with compliance in some significant areas of its operations.

During a long exchange about HSBC’s new policy on sanctions and internal breaches of company rules, Hale told the regulator that “given the size and scale of HSBC”, in his view “it is a cast-iron certain[ty] this will happen, at some point in the future we’re going to have some big breach, some regulatory breach”.

He added: “I hope it doesn’t happen, but it is likely.”

Under pressure from regulators and investors alike, Gulliver has repeatedly insisted HSBC is not too big to manage. The pressure was heightened by the revelations of wrongdoing at its Swiss private bank, published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the Guardian, Le Monde and others.

Gulliver says he has greatly tightened internal management at the bank, dropping its previous federation structure, in which each country’s operations had significant autonomy.

However, Hale suggested in his conversation with the monitor that HSBC’s sprawling 70-country operation was still a significant complicating factor in the work of the bank’s 7,000-strong compliance team.

“I think you have to appreciate it’s difficult for us as a firm, we obviously operate in over 70 countries and we visited a number of countries in 2014 where we haven’t executed the programme,” he said.

Asked whether he anticipated broad breaches in the bank’s governance, Hale said there were “a couple of categories” where his team were considering whether policy was sufficient, as his staff still had concerns that the bank was not doing enough. He noted that to state definitively at that stage that there were broad breaches would be a “big statement to make”.

Pushed for more detail by the monitors, Hale identified the screening of charitable donations as an area of concern for his team. “That would be one example where I’m not entirely comfortable we’ve done enough,” he admitted. He did not go on to detail any others.

The British executive also highlighted the “painful process” of improving reporting standards across the banking group to ensure compliance with sanctions policies – one of the principal causes of HSBC’s record-breaking US fine.

He said his team had a backlog of more than 90 dispensations requests – formal requests to perform an action that would otherwise be against HSBC policies – which he had refused to sign off because they were not in his view of a sufficiently high standard.

Explaining the past difficulty of overhauling sanctions standards at the bank, Hale said HSBC staff were not used to providing the required level of detail for compliance to sign off dispensations. He said: “I think it’s really the first time where we’ve looked to do this with the right level of rigour … the quality of the initial submissions was not great.”

The monitor is required each year to file a lengthy report to the Department of Justice, which in turn files a much shorter summary update to a court in New York. As the agreement was signed in December 2012, the head of the DoJ’s criminal division said HSBC had the “sword of Damocles” over its head should it not follow through on its commitments.

The latest progress report, filed on Wednesday, said HSBC had made progress and was “better protected from and positioned to detect financial crime”, praising the efforts of senior executives and compliance staff.

However, the report also raised several concerns about HSBC’s progress, including in relation to its corporate culture, saying: “Some of HSBC Group’s historical cultural deficiencies continue to pervade its operations today.” Senior staff in the US-based global banking and markets division were criticised specifically.

Such criticism of HSBC culture is likely to come as a disappointment to the bank’s North America chair, Fairhead, who previously chaired the bank’s audit committee during several of the bank’s high-profile ethical lapses, and who also serves as the chair of the BBC Trust and a non-executive at PepsiCo.

Fairhead had told the public accounts committee that her approach to audit had relied substantially on “the culture of HSBC, which was widely regarded as being of high integrity”, which then turned out to be inadequate. Fairhead said she had subsequently helped drive through reforms.

The recorded monitor discussions also touched on problems in the bank’s US compliance team. Hale said: “The internal audit team have done a US review and it’s not great in terms of what they’ve found.” The findings, according to Hale, prompted the bank to terminate the employment of one of the bank’s senior compliance executives in New York, a former sanctions official at the US Treasury.

In 2012, a US Senate report noted that a high turnover of compliance staff at the bank’s US subsidiary had made reforms difficult to implement.

Rabobank and Mexican drug dealers: here.

USA: Newly released documents show that the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC), a government panel set up in 2009 to investigate the 2008 Wall Street meltdown, referred top bankers, CEOs and ex-government officials to the Department of Justice for possible criminal prosecution. Not a single one of those named by the panel, however, has been criminally prosecuted by the Obama administration: here.

£7.6 million travels to British HSBC bank’s Gulliver

This video is about the eighteenth century novel about Lemuel Gulliver. It is called Enlightenment Era: Jonathan Swift – Gulliver’s Travels: a Voyage to Brobdingnag (Lecture).

Now, to Stuart Gulliver today.

By Richard Bagley in Britain:

76m bonus for HSBC chief in hot water

Tuesday 24th February 2015

DISGRACED bank HSBC handed its chief a £7.6 million bonus yesterday despite plunging profits and shady revelations about his financial arrangements in notorious tax havens.

CEO Stuart Gulliver’s £29,000-a-day payout came two weeks after the firm’s role in illegal tax evasion came to light — and hours after news of his own Swiss account was exposed.

Another 320 senior staff shared out £736,000.

HSBC’s profits fell 17 per cent last year — yet the firm still banked an eye-watering £12.1 billion.

Chairman Douglas Flint claimed it would be unfair to penalise Mr Gulliver, who took the role in 2011, over the earlier activities of the bank’s Swiss wing exposed this month.

But fresh revelations emerged yesterday over the CEO’s own dealings with HSBC Suisse.

A leaked dossier showed that Derby-born Mr Gulliver, who is a resident of Hong Kong for tax purposes, had squirreled away about £5m via a Panamanian front company.

He claimed yesterday that he had set up the vehicle to hide the value of his pre-2003 bonuses from work colleagues.

However, TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “It is hard to see why HSBC is paying bonuses at a time when their role in tax evasion and avoidance has become so controversial.

“Those at the top of the banks continue to believe they have some special entitlement to be paid huge amounts every year whatever they do, even when the value of average wages has fallen every year since the crash.”

Mr Gulliver did see £500,000 docked from his bonus over the bank’s role in a separate currency exchange-rigging scandal, which triggered a £216m Financial Conduct Authority fine.

But Labour shadow Treasury minister Cathy Jamieson said people would be “astounded” at the size of the payouts given the recent revelations.

“This underlines Labour’s determination to repeat the tax on bank bonuses in order to fund a jobs programme for young people,” she said.

“We also need wider reform of the banking industry, including extending clawback of bank bonuses to at least 10 years in cases where there has been inappropriate behaviour.”

Chancellor George Osborne was ridiculed yesterday for repeatedly dodging questions about whether he discussed allegations of HSBC tax-dodging with the bank’s former chairman Lord Green: here.

THE “world’s local bank” will be greeted with some tough love from communities today as families turn HSBC branches into “crime scenes” in protest against the bank’s continued tax-dodging. At noon protesters in London, Nottingham, Taunton and Shrewsbury will go into their local branches dressed in forensic suits to the sound of Pink Panther: here.

Gulliver’s HSBC money’s travels to Switzerland

This video says about itself:

Gulliver’s Travels (1939) – Full Movie

Max Fleischer’s animated feature-length classic of Gulliver’s adventures in Lilliput.

In the eighteenth century, there was satirical author Jonathan Swift. The main person in Swift’s best known book, Gulliver’s Travels, is an English fictional character, Lemuel Gulliver.

Lemuel Gulliver is the hero of the novel, in the sense of being the protagonist. Sometimes, also in the sense of performing actions many people would consider heroic, like saving lives.

Today, there is news on another Gulliver: Stuart Gulliver, HSBC bank chief executive. Like Lemuel, Stuart Gulliver is English. Unlike Lemuel, he is non-fictional. Like Lemuel, he travels; but not in eighteenth century sailing ships which required ‘heroic’ courage, but in very comfortable private planes and private yachts.

This video from Britain says about itself:

Swiss account secret of HSBC chief Stuart Gulliver revealed

22 February 2015

LONDON: HSBC chief executive Stuart Gulliver, who vowed to reform the scandal-hit bank, kept millions of dollars in a Swiss account, the Guardian newspaper reported on Sunday.

It is the latest in a stream of so-called “Swissleaks” allegations that have hit the reputation of the British banking giant and caused a political storm ahead of a general election in May.

The report claims the chief executive was a client of the Swiss private banking arm accused of helping wealthy clients evade tax.

Gulliver held about $7.6 million (6.7 million euros) in 2007 in a Swiss account in the name of Worcester Equities Inc, a Panama-registered company, according to the report.

British daily The Guardian writes today:

Revealed: Swiss account secret of HSBC chief Stuart Gulliver

Leaked files covering 2005-2007 show bank chief executive sheltered £5m of his own money at Panamanian company with Swiss HSBC account

James Ball, Juliette Garside, David Pegg and Harry Davies

Stuart Gulliver, the HSBC chief executive who has vowed to reform the crisis-hit bank, sheltered millions of pounds in a Swiss account through a Panamanian company and remains tax domiciled in Hong Kong.

Leaked files show that the Derby-born Gulliver, who is due to present HSBC’s annual report on Monday in the wake of the international controversy over its Geneva-based private bank, was also one of its clients, holding about £5m in a Swiss account.

The bank executive was listed as the beneficial owner of an account in the name of Worcester Equities Inc, an anonymous company registered in Panama, containing a balance in 2007 of $7.6m. It was through this entity that Gulliver’s HSBC bonuses were paid until 2003. He also held a second account in the name of Worcester Foundation, which had been closed before 2007.

Although now based in the UK, where HSBC has its headquarters, Gulliver is domiciled in Hong Kong for legal and tax purposes.

The banking details have emerged as the 55-year-old Oxford University graduate, who became chief executive in January 2011, is due to face questions from reporters and investors for the first time since the Guardian and other media outlets published the leaked HSBC files, which revealed misconduct at the bank’s Swiss subsidiary.

The documents, covering 2005-07, detailed how the private bank was complicit in tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance, doled out bricks of cash in mixed currencies to clients, and provided banking services to criminals, drug smugglers, and friends and families of dictators.

Gulliver has already personally signed a “sincere apology” which appeared in three newspapers last Sunday, saying “the standards to which we operate today were not universally in place in our Swiss operations 8 years ago”.

The bank is expected to announce on Monday full-year profits for 2014 in excess of £13bn – and Gulliver’s total compensation package has been predicted to be around £7.5m, although it was reported over the weekend that he may surrender some of his remuneration because the bank agreed to pay fines to settle unrelated allegations of foreign exchange rigging last year.

In response to queries from the Guardian about his personal account as revealed in the leaked files, a representative for Gulliver said he had made use of HSBC Suisse to hold his bonus payments prior to 2003, when he moved from Hong Kong to London.

Lawyers for Gulliver said that Hong Kong tax had been paid on this income – and explained that he “followed this procedure because he wanted his taxed bonus earnings to remain private from his then colleagues in Hong Kong, which they would not have done if he had kept them in an HSBC Hong Kong account”.

The Guardian asked Gulliver why he used a Panamanian company to hold the funds, given Swiss accounts already offer secrecy. His lawyers declined to answer.

Gulliver’s legal representatives added that his Swiss accounts have “for a number of years” been voluntarily declared to UK tax authorities. They declined to specify the exact date they were first declared.

Gulliver is also among those current and former clients of HSBC Suisse to take advantage of non-dom status. Gulliver is a registered non-dom based on his long residence in Hong Kong – now a special administrative region of China – which he considers to be his home, despite his UK-based position.

A representative for Gulliver said: “Having lived there since the 1980s, our client has become a permanent Hong Kong resident with right of abode, as has his wife who is an Australian national. Hong Kong continues to be their home albeit that our client now works primarily in the UK. As a matter of law, our client is domiciled in Hong Kong.”

Non-dom status can confer several tax advantages on those who claim the status compared with those domiciled in the UK. These include advantages in how inheritance tax is applied, but can also exempt worldwide income earned from outside the UK from incurring UK taxes – a system known as the remittance basis.

Gulliver’s lawyers confirmed he was “entitled to claim the benefit of the remittance basis”, but did not say whether or not he did so. If Gulliver were on the remittance basis, he would not need to pay tax on investment income held outside the UK – which would include holdings in Swiss bank accounts. …

John Christensen, director of the Tax Justice Network, which has campaigned for abolition of non-dom tax benefits in the UK, said the non-dom quirk was particularly attractive for anybody who had accumulated assets such as homes and bonuses offshore, because any gains on offshore assets would be sheltered from UK tax.

“For my part I think it illustrates the absurdity of the rule, which should have been abolished many years ago. It serves no useful purpose and is hugely discriminatory against ordinary UK taxpayers,” he said.

Separately, Gulliver did not become employed by HSBC’s main holding company when he took over as chief executive of the bank in 2011. Documents seen by the Guardian at the time showed that Gulliver took the job of chief executive officer as a secondment from the Dutch-headquartered HSBC Asia Holdings, rather than take a straightforward appointment to the UK parent company.

A spokesman for HSBC said around 350 of its staff were employed through the Netherlands. “About 350 of the bank’s most internationally-mobile employees are employed by HSBC BV,” he said. “This enables them to be employed/seconded to any part of the global group without the need to change contracted employer.”

Representatives for Gulliver declined to explain for what purpose he was employed through the Netherlands subsidiary.

Gulliver has repeatedly emphasised to the public and to lawmakers that the culture of the bank, as well as its safeguards, has changed – both in the wake of the HSBC Files, and previous scandals including Libor rigging, and involvement with Mexican money laundering.

Since the publication of the HSBC files, the bank has been keen to stress that it has downsized the Swiss business, reducing the number of clients by 66%, to around 10,000. However, the total value of assets in those accounts – $68bn (£44bn) – has fallen by only 42%.

This video from Britain says about itself:

The Taxcast, Edition 38, February 2015

22 February 2015

Just what does a bank have to do to lose its licence?! In the February 2015 Taxcast we look at the fall out from #HSBCLeaks and ask how we can genuinely tackle criminality in global finance?

DANNY ALEXANDER’S “announcement” yesterday morning of the Lib Dems’ intention to create a new corporate offence aimed at financial institutions and organisations that assist business in avoiding paying their fair share of tax highlights just how quickly the scale of the HSBC scandal has been minimised to a minor regulatory question. Tax avoidance and evasion is not an issue that’s confined to a single department of a single banking institution in the financial sector but is an endemic and systemic problem in Britain. It’s been fuelled by more than three decades of policies, which have been a major contributor to the largest redistributions of wealth in human history away from working people to the richest in society: here.

Anyone could find themselves having to claim benefits – so we must avoid being sucked into the Tory mantra that most claimants are unworthy of our support, says Bernadette Horton: here.