HSBC reports money laundering violations in Australia

LONDON – According to Reuters, HSBC bank (HSBA.L) has reported itself to the Australian financial regulator for possible violations of anti-money laundering regulations, the bank revealed in a regulatory filing by its Australian subsidiary.

HSBC claimed that the transgressions involved small amounts of cross-border international money transactions involving non-banking financial institutions that the bank was ineffectual in reporting due to technical concerns. 

The 2019 annual report of HSBC’s Australian subsidiary stated that it had identified the potential violations to AUSTRAC, a government agency that fights money laundering and financial crime. HSBC stated, “…regulators and other bodies may make findings that the bank has engaged in misconduct, including breaches of law or conduct that falls below community standards and expectations.”

The bank paid a $1.9 billion fine and entered into a five-year adjourned prosecution agreement with U.S. authorities in 2012 for not preventing Mexican drug cartels from laundering hundreds of millions of dollars. Ever since, the bank has invested billions of dollars into its internal controls, hired thousands of compliance staff and hired an independent monitor at the request of regulators to check its progress on improving its systems to avert further violations.