Is HSBC really serious about reforming its sordid record on ignoring customers who engage in money laundering ? An HSBC customer, a financial professional, who advised the bank that one of its major clients was involved in money laundering, and other illegal activities, had his own accounts abruptly closed by the bank. Not only that, but it also closed the accounts of the customer's family, according to the customer, who related to me the facts.
His accounts were closed, not only in Latin America, but in North America as well, and the bank actually threatened to sue him for making slanderous allegations about money laundering. Of course, he invited the bank to proceed, but to date, it has not brought suit. I imagine the information that would emerge from discovery in such a case could cause the bank serious reputation damage. One wonders when HSBC will truly reform its compliance culture, and not just give us lip service, through press releases, concerning how things have changed.
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