HSBC Escaped U.S. Money-laundering Charges After UK Warned of “Global Financial Disaster”

Tuesday’s edition of the London Guardian writes that the new report issued by the U.S. House Financial Services Committee (HFSC) on July 11 said that direct British government interventions prevented HSBC from being charged with money-laundering by the Obama administration in 2012. The report said the British government “played a significant role in ultimately persuading the DOJ not to prosecute HSBC.” Instead of pursuing a prosecution for crimes including terrorist aid and drug money laundering, the bank agreed to pay a record $1.92 billion fine.

The HFSC report charges that British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne (who holds the same post to this day) and a British banking regulator warned of “global financial disaster” if HSBC were prosecuted.

The report published letters and emails from Osborne and Financial Services Authority (FSA) officials to their U.S. counterparts, warning that launching criminal action against HSBC in 2012 could have sparked a “financial calamity.” Osborne wrote to Ben Bernanke, who was then the Federal Reserve Chairman, and Timothy Geithner, then Treasury Secretary, to warn that prosecuting a “systemically important financial institution” like HSBC “could lead to [financial] contagion” and pose “very serious implications for financial and economic stability, particularly in Europe and Asia.”

The report charged that the FSA was “problematic,” “weighed in very strongly,” and caused a “firestorm,” which led then-U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to overrule the advice of his own prosecutors and not pursue criminal action.

“FSA has been on the phone for the criminal discussions,” officials wrote in emails released in the House report. “That’s what has caused the latest firestorm. The contents of that discussion are included in the Chancellor’s letter.”

The FSA was so desperate about the possibility of HSBC losing its charter to operate in the United States, that the FSA repeatedly warned that even the threat of possible charter withdrawal could have caused a fresh global financial crisis. Furthermore, the report said Holder “misled” Congress about the Justice Department’s reasoning for declining to prosecute. It said the Department did have enough evidence to pursue criminal charges against HSBC, despite Holder’s claim to the contrary, and pointed out that the bank had already admitted to the U.S. government that it had broken money-laundering rules.

The report said: “Rather than lacking adequate evidence to prove HSBC’s criminal conduct, internal Treasury documents show that DOJ leadership declined to pursue [its legal team’s] recommendation to prosecute HSBC because senior DOJ leaders were concerned that prosecuting the bank `could result in a global financial disaster’— as the FSA repeatedly warned.”

This is a dramatic, “smoking gun” confirmation of Lyndon LaRouche’s repeated insistence that the Obama administration’s policies, including salvaging the criminal banking system, are dictated by the British Empire.

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