US Senate probe: HSBC handled Iran funds, drug money

July 17, 2012 09:26

A "pervasively polluted" culture at HSBC Holdings Plc allowed the bank to act as financier to clients seeking to route shadowy funds from the world's most dangerous and secretive corners, including Mexico, Iran, the Cayman Islands, Saudi Arabia and Syria, according to a scathing US Senate report issued on Monday.

While the big British bank's problems have been known for nearly a decade, the Senate probe detailed just how sweeping the problems have been, both at the bank and at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, a top US bank regulator which the report said failed to properly monitor HSBC. 

Typical of the problems inside the bank were transactions tied to Mexico, a country the report said is "under siege from drug crime, violence and money laundering." Some of the money that moved through HSBC was also tied to Iran, the report said, which would violate US prohibitions on transactions linked to it and other sanctioned countries.

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