The laundry list of offenses includes everything money laundering for Mexican drug cartels to ignoring U.S. regulations meant to prevent dollars from reaching our country’s known enemies.
Enemies like Al Qaeda.
One of the most damning parts of the report details HSBC’s relationship with Saudi based Al Rajhi Bank, a member of Osama bin Ladin’s ‘Golden Chain’ of important Al Qaeda financiers. The relationship has spanned decades, perhaps that is why even when HSBC’s own internal compliance offices asked that it be terminated in 2005, even when the US government discovered hard evidence of Al Rajhi’s relationship with terrorism, HSBC continued to business with the bank until 2010.
Al Rajhi bank is owned by the billionaire Al Rajhi family and holds $59 billion in assets. It is Saudi Arabia’s largest private bank.
Al Rajhi’s links to terrorism were confirmed in 2002 when U.S. agents searched the offices of a Saudi non-profit and U.S. designated terrorist organisation, Benevolence International Foundation (page 193). In that raid, agents uncovered a CD-ROM listing the names of financiers in Osama bin Ladin’s elite ‘Golden Chain.’ One of those names was Sulaiman bin Abdul Aziz Al Rajhi, a founder of Al Rajhi bank.
From the report (page 194):
It doesn’t stop there: Al Rahji is also known for financial services to 9/11 hijacker Abdulaziz al Omari, who was on American Airlines flight 11 (page 201).
An excerpt of a civil lawsuit against the bank from the Senate report (page 201):
It wasn’t until 2005 when the bank was linked to $130,000 worth of U.S. travellers cheques cashed to support violent extremists in Chechnya that HSBC’s internal compliance office asked that the bank discontinue all business with Al Rajhi (page 188). Some employees listened, some did not.
By the end of 2006 the relationship was completely reinstated and HSBC continued to provide the bank with U.S. dollars.
The relationship continued until 2010.
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