HSBC allowed fraudsters to transfer millions of dollars around the world even after it had learned of their scam. Its role in the $80m (£62m) fraud is detailed in a leak of documents - banks' "suspicious activity reports."
The investment scam, a Ponzi scheme, started soon after the bank was fined $1.9bn (£1.4bn) in the US over money laundering. It had promised to clamp down on these sorts of practices. Duped investors say the bank should have acted sooner to close the fraudsters' accounts. The fraudsters used Christian imagery and targeted poor communities in the US, Colombia and Peru. There were also victims in other countries, including the UK. HSBC did spot suspicious transactions going through its systems. But it was not until April 2014, after US financial regulator the Securities and Exchange Commission filed charges, that the WCM777 accounts at HSBC in Hong Kong were shut. By that time there was nearly nothing left in them.
Another revelation was the suggestion one of the biggest banks in the US may have helped a notorious mobster to move more than $1bn. JP Morgan, provided banking services to a secretive offshore company called ABSI Enterprises between 2002 and 2013, even though the firm's ownership was not clear from the bank's records. ABSI's parent company was associated with Semion Mogilevich - an individual who was on the FBI's top 10 most wanted list".