Murder victims’ families sue HSBC over drug gang money laundering

HSBC paid almost $2bn to US regulators in 2012 for failing to stop drug dealers laundering money

The bank says it will fight claims that its failures to stop drug dealers laundering the proceeds of crime make it liable to pay compensation to victims

The families of people murdered by Mexican drugs gangs are suing HSBC, arguing the bank can be linked to the killings because it failed to stop cartels laundering the proceeds of their crimes, amounting to billions of dollars.

At the time of a regulatory investigationHSBC apologised for the failings andpaid almost $2bn to the US authorities in 2012 to settle allegations that it did not properly implement anti-money laundering rules.

Documents filed in a federal court in Texas accuse the bank of “providing material support to terrorists” by “knowingly providing financial services to the Mexican drug cartels and laundering billions of dollars of their illicit proceeds”.

The documents say those resources were used in crimes including the murder of a US citizen and the torture of another US citizen, and that the families launching the lawsuit are seeking damages as a result.

By providing financial services to the cartels, HSBC directly committed an act of terrorism, the lawyers argue.

HSBC Group Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver attends a news conference in Hong Kong

In 2012 HSBC chief Stuart Gulliver called the scandal “shameful and embarrassing,” but the bank is fighting this particular case Photo: Reuters

The bank intends to fight the case.

“We intend to defend ourselves vigorously against these legal claims,” said HSBC. “We are committed to combating financial crime and have taken strict steps to help keep bad actors out of the global financial system.”

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