Insight: How Colombian Drug Traffickers Used HSBC to Launder Money
“The situation was so bad, according to the Department of Justice, that in 2008, the head of HSBC’s Mexican operations was told by Mexican regulators that a local drug lord described the bank as “the place to launder money.”
Insight: How Colombian drug traffickers used HSBC to launder money
(Reuters) – When several Colombian men were indicted in January 2010 on money-laundering charges, the case in Brooklyn federal court drew little attention.
It looked like a bust of another nexus of drug traffickers and money launderers, with mainly small-time operatives paying the price for their crimes.
One of the men was Julio Chaparro, a 48-year-old father of four who owned three factories that made children’s clothing in Colombia.
But to U.S. authorities the case was anything but ordinary. Chaparro, prosecutors alleged, helped run a money-laundering ring for drug traffickers that took advantage of lax controls at UK-based international banking group HSBC Holdings Plc. It was one of the most important leads for U.S. investigators pursuing a case against the bank that eventually led to a $1.9 billion settlement on December 11.