Tuesday, January 19, 2016



Remember HSBCs billion dollar sanctions case ? The court-appointed Monitor released his First Annual Follow-up Review Report, which details HSBCs progress in creating and maintaining an effective AML/CFT program, but you will not be allowed to see it.

When a private citizen requested that it be unsealed, both the Department of Justice, and HSBC attorneys, weighed in with multiple objections. He asserts that the report will validate his claims that HSBC is in direct violation of multiple sections of prior consent decrees.

 Here's what they alleged:

(1) HSBC: If the details of our AML improvements are made public, then money launderers, and other financial criminals, will be better able to penetrate our defenses; Hogwash. Experienced money launderers utilize techniques that you have not yet discovered, let alone developed defenses to.

(2) DOJ: If we open the details to public scrutiny, those foreign jurisdictions ( read this as: tax havens) who have cooperated with us in the past, regarding HSBC, may choose to cease their cooperation. So what ?

First, by the way, the DOJ asserted that the Report was not a "judicial document," and therefore, it did not have to be disclosed in the court file. Does this sound like splitting hairs, for the sole purpose of denying transparency ? You be the judge, but I am personally disgusted that DOJ succeeded. The trial judge reserved ruling, meaning that he may never make a decision on the issue.

Experienced compliance officers know that HSBCs AML violations, in many jurisdictions, and over decades, are legion. For it to hide behind a sealed document, means that it is business as usual; opacity remains the order of the day.

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