HSBC’s third quarter numbers are out. We got a relatively unexciting underlying profit figure of $5bn but a whack of extra provisions totalling $1.15bn, including $800m more to cover the bank’s money laundering troubles in the US on top of the $700m already put aside.
From HSBC (our emphasis): Read more
HSBC is under investigation by a US Senate panel in a money-laundering inquiry, Reuters says, citing people familiar with the situation and a company securities filing. The inquiry being conducted by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations could yield a report and congressional hearing later this spring, the sources said. The subcommittee has a history of conducting high-profile hearings that have proved embarrassing for the world’s biggest banks. The intensifying scrutiny of HSBC is the latest in a series of investigations by US officials into how global banks have processed — and in some cases, intentionally hidden — financial transactions on behalf of countries which allegedly support terrorism, corrupt foreign officials, drug gangs and criminals, which have resulted in more than $1.2bn in penalties being paid by US and European banks since 2008. Read more
Royal Bank of Scotland has been ordered by the US Federal Reserve board to improve compliance and governance in its US operations, the WSJ reports. The Fed issued similar cease-and-desist orders to HSBC and Barclays in 2010. The order is not a response to a specific incident, and gives RBS 60 days to submit a written plan showing how it will implement tighter oversight from board members and senior executives of risk and governance. RBS must also demonstrate that it will tighten up risk management and comply with requirements set by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, which monitors potential money laundering activities, reports Reuters. RBS said it was already tackling the issues. Read more
Corrupt Chinese officials smuggled an estimated Rmb800bn ($123.6bn) of ill-gotten gains out of the country over a 15-year period, according to a report released by China’s central bank, reports the FT. For higher-ranking officials who managed to abscond with large amounts of money, the US was the favourite destination, while Canada, Australia and the Netherlands were also popular. The report, now removed from the central bank’s website, warned that rampant corruption poses a threat to Communist party rule. It also provided a fascinating insight into the mechanisms behind that corruption by identifying eight ways that officials funneled their illicit funds offshore. Read more
Correction: The fifth paragraph originally included a reference to the Daedong Credit Bank, rather than Banco Delta Asia. This was a mistake — as the links to the Treasury site and New York Times article show, Daedong Credit Bank has never been subject to Section 311. Apologies.
Here’s another reason to never pay sticker price. Read more
Tom DeLay, the Republican leader known as ‘The Hammer’ for his uncompromising enforcement of party discipline, was convicted of money laundering in a Texas court on Wednesday and faces a prison sentence, the FT reports. Mr DeLay was accused of conspiring to channel $190,000 in campaign donations to Republican candidates to the Texas legislature in 2002, breaking state law in the process. After the verdict, which he called “a miscarriage of justice”, he said: “We will carry on. Hopefully we can get this before people who understand the law.” The former House majority leader had been battling corruption allegations since 2006 when he resigned in disgrace from Congress after being indicted on campaign finance charges. Read more
Someone hasn’t been reading Matthew 6:24. From Reuters on Tuesday:
The head of the Vatican bank Ettore Gotti Tedeschi has been placed under investigation by Rome magistrates for suspected money-laundering by the bank, judicial sources said on Tuesday. His office and the Vatican spokesman said they had no immediate comment… Read more
That’s one hell of an accountancy hitch.
From Reuters (our emphasis): Read more