Lord Green has written to Chris Leslie, Labour’s shadow treasury minister, to give his first response to allegations that HSBC allowed Mexican drug gangs to use the bank to launder their money while he was chairman.
Borrowing a phrase from George Osborne, Labour insisted Lord Green had “questions to answer” over what and when he knew about the allegations. Lord Green is in no mood to answer those questions however. In his letter, he says:
Thank you for your letter of 21 July, regarding the recent Senate Subcommittee investigation into HSBC.
As you know the committee’s report is an extensive discussion of HSBC’s AML and OFAC sanctions issues.
The report about HSBC provides evidence of the action taken by myself and senior management at HSBC when these issues were brought to our attention. In addition the report demonstrates that senior management was engaged with regulators throughout.
With regards to the bank’s efforts to address its AML and OFAC compliance issues, HSBC has expressed its regret that there were failures of implementation in those areas, and I share that regret. As you know, HSBC has also publicly committed to fixing what went wrong. It would not be appropriate for me to comment further on the specifics as this is a matter of continuing discussion between HSBC and the US authorities.
I would add that I am proud to have worked for HSBC for 28 years, culminating in my time as Chairman. HSBC has always sought to do the right thing, and when things go wrong, worked hard to put them right. I have sought to embody these values in my own work and to react appropriately to emerging issues both as CEO and Chairman of HSBC.
“Regrets” – but no questions answered and definitely no “sorry”. Lord Green then went on Sky News to insist he had “no case to answer” over the affair. He is determined to stay in post, and unless there is any evidence he did know about what was going on in South America, he is likely to do so.