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U.S. Gov't and HSBC Bank Officials Testify on Financial System Vulnerabilities

Washington, DC
Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Treasury and Homeland Security Department officials testify on vulnerabilities to the U.S. financial system at a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Permanent Investigations hearing Tuesday.

The Subcommittee is using international bank HSBC as a case study to discuss "the money laundering and terrorist financing vulnerabilities created when a global bank uses its U.S. affiliate to provide U.S. dollars, U.S. dollar services, and access to the U.S. financial system to high risk affiliates, high risk correspondent banks, and high risk clients."

Executives of HSBC Holdings Plc and its U.S. subsidiary are also testifying about how the bank has tightened its money handling oversight "after years of run-ins with U.S. authorities over alleged anti-money laundering lapses."

In anticipation of the hearing, HSBC executives sent a message to employees earlier this week: "Between 2004 and 2010, our anti-money laundering controls should have been stronger and more effective, and we failed to spot and deal with unacceptable behavior. It is right that we are held accountable and that we take responsibility for fixing what went wrong."

HSBC's North American chief Irene Dorner is testifying alongside global legal head Stuart Levey. Additional witnesses include the Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry, as well as an Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) lawyer and a former OCC official.

As of March 2012, HSBC has total assets of over $2 trillion.

Updated: Tuesday, July 17, 2012 at 5:19pm (ET)

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