HSBC Executive Apologizes For Lax Controls That Allowed Mexican Drug Cartels To Launder Money

Irene Dorner, president and CEO of the U.S. division of HSBC says she’s sorry that lax controls at the bank have allowed for what lawmakers say amount to many illicit transactions over the years, including the pretty serious claim that Mexican drug cartels have laundered billions of dollars through a U.S. operation.

She prepared testimony for a hearing by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations saying that “we deeply regret and apologize” for the lapses by HSBC. That subcommittee found persistent problems at HSBC which executives apparently ignored.

Last week, HSBC’s head Stuart Gulliver told employees in a memo that the company was sorry for allowing money laundering to go on under its banks’ roofs.

Dorner and other HSBC executives are scheduled to testify today, and according to the Associated Press, will say the bank has been busy making changes to its policies to prevent such things from happening in the future.

“These changes will be embedded and sustained going forward,” Dorner says.

The panel’s chairman, Sen. Carl Levin, a Democrat, said the policies are a good step but that’s not what it’s all about. It’s also “accountability for past conduct is essential. And that is what is missing here.” He added that the bank should consider closing the account of its Mexican affiliate.

HSBC US executive apologizes for lax controls; says bank has made significant changes [Associated Press]