HSBC told to beef up anti-money laundering programme


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The Independent Online

US authorities have warned HSBC has made some progress in improving its anti-money laundering programme but there is “much work to be done”.

Under the 2012 deferred prosecution agreement with the US Justice Department, which saw HSBC pay $1.9 billion (£1.14 billion) in penalties over charges it allowed Mexican drug barons to launder hundreds of millions of dollars, the bank is regularly monitored by former New York prosecutor Michael Cherkasky.

His latest update on the UK bank’s performance in improving money-laundering controls was filed  in  a New York court last night.

“Based on his initial review and subsequent conversations with the bank, the monitor believes that the leadership of HSBC Group is appropriately committed to addressing the Bank’s longstanding compliance deficiencies,” the Justice Department said in the filing.

It added that Cherkasky found that many of the bank’s actions to correct anti-money laundering deficiencies “did not begin in earnest until early 2013,” after it entered into the agreement.

HSBC reportedly disputed that finding and “maintains it did act promptly to begin remediation efforts prior to 2013,” the court document states. Cherkasky’s findings suggested the bank must improve the reliability of the data it gathers on its customers.