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HSBC Caught Laundering Mexican Dope Cartel Money; How Much of It Went to Obama's 2008 Campaign?

May 15, 2012 (EIRNS)—This release was issued today by the Lyndon LaRouche Political Action Committee.

A major new scandal has erupted around drug money laundering by the already infamous HSBC, formerly the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp. According to a variety of news accounts, an officer of the New York branch of HSBC, John Cruz, amassed over 1,000 pages of evidence and more than 20 hours of taped conversations with other bank officials, showing that the bank was laundering massive amounts of money through dummy accounts, using fake Federal Tax ID numbers and other ruses.

Cruz was an account manager from 2008-2010, when he was fired for attempting to force the bank to halt the money-laundering scheme. He took his evidence to the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Homeland Security, and other Federal and state agencies, but no action was taken. Reportedly, at least two U.S. Attorneys' offices—in West Virginia and Florida—are now investigating the case, and the Senate Permanent Investigations Subcommittee is also reportedly probing the matter. A similar case of drug money laundering for the Mexican drug cartels was exposed several years ago out of the London offices of Wachovia Bank (now Wells Fargo). There, too, the whistleblower was fired.

Briefed on the HSBC case yesterday, Lyndon LaRouche posed a crucial question: "How much of the drug money was funneled into the 2008 Obama Presidential Campaign?" LaRouche cited the pivotal role of British agent and dope legalizer George Soros in promoting the Obama Presidential run and financing it, noting that the Mexico-U.S. border area between Arizona and Texas was flooded with dope money, coming back into the United States, during the relevant period.

The major elements of this ongoing investigation include:

  • Revelations that a 2010 report by the office of West Virginia U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld II (Northern District, W. Virginia) compared HSBC to a "nuclear waste dump." According to the website of the Association of Certified Financial Crime Specialists (ACFCS), the report says that "HSBC is to Riggs, as a nuclear waste dump is to a municipal land fill." The investigation of HSBC goes back to 2005, reported Reuters, which obtained the report. Investigations are also underway in Southern Florida and the Southern District of New York, involving movement of "hundreds of billions" of dollars through foreign correspondent banks without following anti-money laundering regulations, Reuters wrote in a May 3 "Special Report."

    In 2005, EIR exposed Riggs Bank as the major laundromat for the al-Yamamah-linked funds of then-Saudi Ambassador to the U.S., Prince Bandar bin Sultan, whose household had funneled money to the 9/11 hijackers when they were operating in California. As the ACFCS notes, Riggs, which was closed down by the Federal government, also served as "a big piggy bank for dictators like Pinochet of Chile, [and] Nguema of Equatorial Guinea...."

  • HSBC is under investigation by the Senate Permanent Investigations Subcommittee, headed by Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), for money laundering activities.

  • Former HSBC officer Cruz reported to the conservative web publication, WND, that "I found many accounts through which hundreds of thousands of dollars were being flowed as a conduit on a monthly basis." According to documents he provided to WND, in some months, there were wire transfers as large as $500,000. Cruz says, "HSBC is a criminal organization .... It is a culture of crime." He also said, "I have hours of voice recordings, ranging from bank tellers to business representatives, to managers, to executives...."

    Cruz said he concluded that the money laundering was being carried out on behalf of Mexico's deadly drug cartels, which, as of May 14, have been linked to 81 decapitations in the last month.

    On May 4, Britain's daily Independent reported that "Drug cartels used HSBC to launder cash," and in one documented case now in the hands of the U.S. Attorney in West Virginia, "Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents posing as drug dealers deposited millions of dollars in Paraguayan banks and then transferred money to accounts in the U.S. through HSBC."

  • In December 2011, the New York Times reported how the DEA was setting up money-laundering accounts for the Mexican drug cartels—parallel to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) setting up gun shipments to the Mexican cartels in the Fast & Furious operation.

    "Undercover American narcotics agents have laundered or smuggled millions of dollars in drug proceeds," the Times reported, with the DEA handling shipments of "hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal cash across borders." Some transactions were as large as $1 million in cash, but "federal law enforcement agencies had to seek Justice Department approval to launder amounts greater than $10 million in any single operation." However, former agents told the Times, that cap "had been waived on many occasions to attract ... high-value targets."

  • In January 2012, The Ulsterman Report published a briefing from its source, "Washington Insider," who claimed that Obama "laundered something like $300 million, maybe more, in 2008," and that he is doing it again in the 2012 campaign. "Maybe this time they're up to a billion dollars or more? Money from China? Pakistan? Iran? Libya? Nobody knows," Washington Insider said.

  • As EIR's Dope, Inc. first reported in 1978, HSBC, then called the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp. (a.k.a. HongShang), functioned as the Central Bank for opium and heroin trade for the British Empire and its East India Company, dating back to 1865, when it was founded. In 1977-78, EIR led a campaign to attempt to block HongShang from being able to buy the Marine Midland Bank in New York State and set up operations in the U.S., warning state and federal officials about the drug bank's history. HSBC is not the only one of the Queen's banks involved in drug-money laundering. In March 2012, Coutts & Co., Her Majesty's bank, was fined by the U.K.'s Financial Services Authority (FSA) for persistent money laundering.

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