Europas største bank, HSBC, har gått med på å betale USA 2 milliarder dollar i bot for å ha utført banktjenester for terrorgrupper, mexicanske drugbander og røverstater. Det er den største boten i sitt slag, men mange amerikanske politikere mener man unngikk en rettssak for ikke å forstyrre stabiliteten.
Europe’s largest bank will avoid a potentially crippling criminal prosecution for its role in moving cash for known terror groups, Mexican drug cartels, and rogue governments such as Iran, instead agreeing to pay a record $2 billion settlement, U.S. Justice Department officials announced at a press conference today.
Announcement of the immense fine was overshadowed Tuesday by efforts to explain why, in one of the clearest cases of criminal money laundering in recent memory, no one would be facing jail time. Criminal conviction on money laundering violations would have also forcibly prevented HSBC from doing business in the United States.
Lanny Breuer, Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division, disputed suggestions that the bank was «too big to be prosecuted,» but did not dispute the idea that the Justice Department was looking for ways to penalize the bank without compromising the jobs and beneficial economic activity that the massive bank supports.
«Our goal here is not to bring HSBC down,» said Breuer.»I wouldn’t say it’s too big to prosecute. I’m not going to say that. … I don’t think the bank thinks it got off easy.»
American officials said the $1.92 billion fine — the largest ever in such a case — would send a pointed message to financial institutions that have been lax in weeding out the banking activities of criminals and terrorists.