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Salmond - apologist for organised crime

Speaking during his New York trip, Alex Salmond said HSBC "in many ways is the most Scottish bank in the world now. Founded by Scots, run by Scots, on the principles of Scottish banking. Hence one reason why it's survived the winds better than other institutions"


With the Scottish-based HBOS and RBS exposed as incompetent and failed banking institutions Salmond was required to look further afield for a positive example. But the HSBC?

This was the bank fined £1.2 billion for money laundering in the United States and Mexico, and embroiled in a fresh scandal with Argentine authorities accusing it of laundering $100 million. In India, in November 2012, anti-corruption crusaders Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan alleged that the bank was involved in black money and hawala transactions. They said that in July 2011, the Indian Government had received a list of about 700 people having bank accounts in HSBC, Geneva, in 2006. The Bank also was fined $1.4 billion by the U.K. for improper selling of its financial products, including interest-rate swaps to corporate customers.

According to the Task Force on Financial Integrity & Economic Development and Global Financial Integrity, HSBC Mexico’s Cayman Islands branch opened as many as $50,000-denominated accounts without adequate attention to customer identification. HSBC USA opened 2000 accounts with untraceable bearer share corporations as owner over the past decade. Between 2001 and 2007, it allowed 28,000 transactions involving countries, groups, or individuals against which the US had imposed financial sanctions. These include sale of $1billion of US banknotes to Al Rajhi, a Saudi bank with owners having ties to terrorist organisations, including al-Qaeda. Transactions amounting to $881 million were routed on behalf of the Mexican Sinaloa cartel and Colombian Norte del Valle cartel. Then, wire transfers totalling $670 billion between HSBC Mexico and HSBC USA were unmonitored. Another $200 trillion went through HSBC USA without anti-money laundering controls or monitoring.

The bank became “the preferred financial institution of drug cartels and money launderers” and as Alex Salmond says, it successfully weathered the recession seemingly by being the bag-man for drug-dealers, terrorists and tax evaders. Proud Scottish banking principles for Salmond to preach?

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