Banking giant accused of laundering billions

NEW YORK – A former employee of HSBC in New York has 1,000 pages of customer account records he claims are evidence of an international money-laundering scheme involving hundreds of billions of dollars by the global banking giant, which reportedly is under investigation by a U.S. Senate committee.

John Cruz has delivered to WND customer account records he says he pulled from the HSBC computer system before he was fired. Cruz was terminated Feb. 17, 2010, after two years at HSBC for “poor performance,” but he contends he was let go because senior management didn’t want to him to pursue his personal investigation.

Asked for comment, HSBC spokesman Rob Sherman issued a statement to WND.

“We support efforts to protect the integrity of the financial system, and our commitment to AML (anti-money laundering) includes rigorous internal processes and a close working partnership with regulators and law enforcement,” the statement said.

One of the largest banks in the world, London-based HSBC has about 7,500 offices in more than 80 countries and territories in Europe, North and South America, the Asia-Pacific region, the Middle East and Africa.

In his position as an account relationship manager, Cruz worked in the HSBC southern New York region, which accounts for about 50 percent of HSBC’s North American revenue. He was assigned to work with several branch managers to identify accounts in which HSBC might introduce additional banking services.

Cruz told WND he has “firsthand knowledge and proof of how HSBC transferred billions of dollars through accounts linked to companies that did not exist.”

“I had poor job performance because the portfolio of HSBC accounts I was given to work ended up being 90 percent fictitious and fraudulent accounts,” he said. “How could I expand HSBC bank relations with fraudulent accounts that were created to be used for illegal money laundering?”

Meanwhile, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has begun probing money-laundering activity at HSBC, according to a Reuters report last week, with the intention of scheduling hearings in the spring.

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