In response to recent revelations that HSBC, the second largest commercial bank in the world, committed numerous violations of U.S. and international tax and finance laws, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Financial Services Committee, expressed her concern at the continued lack of accountability for the individuals associated with providing financial services for some of the world’s worst criminals and tax evaders.
Waters, a fierce advocate for Wall Street accountability during and after the financial crisis, released the following statement:
“The recent revelations about HSBC’s efforts to shield individuals from the laws of the U.S. and other nations are just the latest in a long list of troubling misdeeds by the bank. The documents released confirm that the scope of the bank’s dealings with dubious figures, including known tax evaders, arms dealers and corrupt officials, exceeds even the shocking admission by HSBC that it actively turned off anti-money laundering controls to accommodate terrorist financing and Mexican drug cartels.
Banks that actively help clients evade taxes, break American law, or provide services to those connected with illegal activity should be punished accordingly. While HSBC has paid billions in fines to the United States and other nations, it outrages me that not a single individual has been prosecuted or held accountable.”
Last October, following reports of money laundering violations by HSBC, Waters introduced the “Holding Individuals Accountable and Deterring Money Laundering Act” proposed legislation that would bolster the government’s ability to prosecute and hold accountable individuals who violate the Bank Secrecy Act. Currently, the Bank Secrecy Act requires government agencies to seek out and prevent money laundering schemes in the financial system. Additionally, one of the more significant provisions in the proposed bill makes bank executives personally liable for wrongdoing and empowers regulators to remove or permanently ban bankers who violate the law from the financial services industry.