Green under pressure to speak out on laundering

Tim Wallace
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FORMER HSBC boss Lord Green could at last make a statement this week on his time at HSBC and his knowledge of the money laundering scandal, it emerged yesterday.

Business secretary Vince Cable yesterday said “I’m sure he will say what has to be said about his own oversight of this,” and a departmental source said the trade and investment minister could be making a statement this week.

The House of Lords continues to sit until Wednesday, while the Commons has already gone on summer recess.

Pressure mounted on Saturday night as Labour’s shadow Treasury minister Chris Leslie wrote to Green to ask whether he knew “about the alleged circumvention of safeguards designed to block transactions to those with potential links to drug cartels, rogue regimes or terrorist organisations.”

Leslie also called for Green to reveal just how much outgoing head of compliance David Bagley told him about deficiencies in anti-money laundering controls, and the steps Green took “to mitigate circumstances where HSBC may have been disregarding terrorist financing links.”

The letter came after a US senate report accused HSBC of inadvertently allowing banks with links to drug dealers and terrorists to use its facilities, becoming part of a money laundering process.

The 400-page report also claims Lord Green knowingly allowed the bank to breach the US trade embargo against Iran.

Head of compliance David Bagley quit over the revelations, and the bank has pledged to close thousands of accounts based in the Cayman Islands in an effort to boost compliance.