Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Minister Green Tells of 'Regrets' over Laundering; BANKING

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Minister Green Tells of 'Regrets' over Laundering; BANKING

Article excerpt

Andrew Hebden ? 0191 201 6004 ? andrew.hebden@ncjmedia.co.uk TRADE Minister Lord Green said yesterday he "regrets" issues over HSBC's role in laundering money while he was in charge of the bank.

He has come under pressure since a US Senate committee found HSBC accepted more than pounds 9bn from high-risk money-laundering countries such as Mexico and Russia without properly monitoring transactions.

Labour has called on him to explain his role and yesterday Lord Green wrote to shadow Treasury minister Chris Leslie.

In his letter, he said the bank had expressed its regret "and I share that regret".

The letter went on to say that the Senate committee's report demonstrated that the bank's senior management "was engaged with the regulators throughout'" and that he was "proud to have worked for HSBC for 28 years, culminating in my time as chairman".

"HSBC have always sought to do the right thing and, when things go wrong, worked hard to put them right," Lord Green wrote, adding that he had "sought to embody these values" in his own work.

In response, Mr Leslie demanded the peer go to the Lords "and explain what he knew, when he knew it and what action he took".

The shadow financial secretary said: "It is right that Lord Green has now expressed regret for the failures of HSBC to prevent money laundering during his time as chief executive and chairman.

"But his letter totally fails to address the detailed questions about what he knew and when about these very serious issues.

"As a British minister, an adviser to George Osborne on banking and a member of the Cabinet committee on banking reform, he is accountable first and foremost to Parliament. He cannot and should not hide behind 'continuing discussions between HSBC and the US authorities' as a reason for failing to answer questions."

Lord Green spent three years as chief executive of the bank before being appointed chairman in 2006, a role he retained until he was brought into government by Prime Minister David Cameron in 2010.

The head of compliance at HSBC resigned in front of the US Senate sub-committee last week over the scandal. …

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