FinCEN Files reporting team, 20 September 2020
Britain’s biggest bank moved the money through its US business to HSBC accounts in Hong Kong in 2013 and 2014. Its role in the $80m (£62m) fraud is detailed in a leak of documents – banks’ “suspicious activity reports” – that have been called the FinCEN Files.
HSBC says it has always met its legal duties on reporting such activity. The files show the investment scam started soon after the bank was fined $1.9bn (£1.4bn) in the US over money laundering. It had promised to clamp down on these sorts of practices.
The scam was a Ponzi scheme – a notorious type of investment racket that pays existing stakeholders with money collected from new members. Lawyers for duped investors say the bank should have acted sooner to close the fraudsters’ accounts.
The documents leak includes a series of other revelations – such as the suggestion one of the biggest banks in the US may have helped a notorious mobster to move more than $1bn.