DEA, FBI and other federal officials announced today that HSBC Holdings plc – a United Kingdom corporation headquartered in London – and HSBC Bank USA have agreed to forfeit $1.256 billion and enter into a deferred prosecution agreement with the Justice Department.
A four-count felony criminal information was filed today in federal court against HSBC with willfully failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering program. HSBC has waived federal indictment, agreed to the filing of the information, and has accepted responsibility for its criminal conduct and that of its employees. In addition, the HSBC Group violated U.S. laws by illegally conducting transactions on behalf of customers in Cuba, Iran, Libya, Sudan and Burma – all countries that were subject to sanctions enforced by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) at the time of the transactions.
Records show that between 2006-10 Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel run by Chapo Guzman and Colombia’s Norte del Valle cartel laundered at least $881 million in drug proceeds through the U.S. financial system via HSBC.
“We accept responsibility for our past mistakes. We have said we are profoundly sorry for them, and we do so again,” said HSBC.
“Today’s historic agreement, which imposes the largest penalty in any BSA prosecution to date, makes it clear that all corporate citizens, no matter how large, must be held accountable for their actions,” said Loretta Lynch, U.S. Attorney.
“Cartels and criminal organization are fueled by money and profits,” said ICE Director John Morton. “
In addition to forfeiting $1.256 billion as part of its deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) with the Department of Justice, HSBC has also agreed to pay $665 million in civil penalties.