Pope Francis Denounces Global ‘Cult Of Money’

Pope Francis Denounces Global 'Cult Of Money'Pope Francis has called on world leaders to end the “cult of money” and to do more for the poor, in his first major speech on the financial crisis. Free market economics had created a tyranny, in which people were valued only by their ability to consume, the pontiff told diplomats in the Vatican.

‘Increase transparency’

“Money has to serve, not to rule,” he said, urging ethical financial reforms.

Meanwhile, the Vatican’s own bank announced it would publish its annual for the first time. The Institute for Works of Religion, which has been at the centre of various financial scandals in recent years, is to hire an external accountancy firm to ensure it meets international standards against money laundering. The bank would launch a and publish its annual report in an effort to increase transparency, new president Ernst Freyberg said.


‘Worship of the golden calf’

Pope Francis said life had become worse for people in both rich and poor countries, the BBC’s David Willey in Rome reports. In a biblical reference, the pontiff said the “worship of the golden calf” of old had found a new and heartless image in the current cult of money. He added that reforms were urgently needed as poverty was becoming more and more evident.

People struggled to live, and frequently in an undignified way, under the dictatorship of an economy which lacked any real human goal, Pope Francis said. He made his remarks during an address to newly accredited ambassadors to the Holy See.

Do you agree with Pope Francis’ view on money? And do you approve of the Vatican bank’s move for more transparency?

Source: BBC News

Image: Al Jazeera

U.S. Senate: HSBC Played Financier For ‘Drug Kingpins’

HSBC provided a conduit for “drug kingpins and rogue nations”, according to a US Senate committee investigating money laundering claims at the bank. Its  said suspicious funds from countries including Mexico, Iran and Syria had passed through the bank.

The president and chief executive of HSBC Bank USA, Irene Dorner, apologised to the committee for the behaviour which she said deeply regretted. She said she had worked hard to change the culture at the bank. The bank also said it was in the process of closing 20,000 accounts in the Cayman Islands as a result of the investigation.

Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, said an audit had found that: “From 2001 to 2007, HSBC affiliates sent almost 25,000 transactions involving Iran worth over $19bn dollars through HBUS and other US accounts, while concealing any link with Iran in 85% of the transactions.” HSBC senior executives in London knew what was going on, he said, but allowed the “deceptive conduct” to continue.


One HSBC executive, Paul Thurston, who was head of retail banking and wealth management, said the bank had taken wrongdoing seriously, and had taken action on many occasions, including dismissing staff. He told the hearing of the difficulties of working in Mexico, which, he said, was a dangerous environment where kidnapping of bank staff was widespread and employees came under pressure from criminals who would attempt to corrupt them. Mr Thurston referred to substandard record-keeping and the difficulty of knowing who the bank’s clients were.

Before the hearing began, HSBC said in a statement, that it expected to be held accountable for what went wrong: ”We will apologise, acknowledge these mistakes, answer for our actions and give our absolute commitment to fixing what went wrong,” HSBC said.

How should HSBC be sanctioned for aiding financial transactions of “drug kingpins”? Do you think the bank can still stay afloat after this scandal?

Source: BBC News

Image: Los Angeles Times