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

Obama Backs Same-Sex Marriage

President Obama today announced that he now supports same-sex marriage, reversing his longstanding opposition amid growing pressure from the Democratic base and even his own vice president.

In an interview with ABC News’ Robin Roberts, the president described his thought process as an “evolution” that led him to this place, based on conversations with his own staff members, openly gay and lesbian service members, and conversations with his wife and own daughters.


“I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married,” Obama told Roberts, in an interview to appear on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Thursday. Excerpts of the interview will air tonight on ABC’s “World News with Diane Sawyer.”

In 2004, as a candidate for the US Senate, he cited his own religion in framing his views: “I’m a Christian. I do believe that tradition and my religious beliefs say that marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman.”

He maintained that position through his 2008 presidential campaign, and through his term as president, until today. What do you think caused his change in heart?

Source: Yahoo News

Image: The Daily Beast