Ex-HSBC boss Lord Green regrets bank conduct

Lord Green, "There were some failures of implementation"

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The Trade Minister, Lord Green, has said he "regrets" the conduct of HSBC and acknowledges there were "failures" in how it handled allegations of money laundering.

Ex-HSBC chairman and chief executive Lord Green also said he was proud to have worked for the bank for 28 years.

Last week a US Senate probe disclosed how the bank provided a conduit for "drug kingpins and rogue nations".

The government has said it has "every confidence" in the trade minister.

Lord Green's comments came in a letter to Labour's shadow treasury minister Chris Leslie, who had challenged Lord Green to make a public statement.

Mr Leslie said it was right that Lord Green expressed his regret, but his letter "totally fails to address the detailed questions about what he knew and when about these very serious issues".

He repeated his call for the trade minister to make a full statement to Parliament.

'Not appropriate'

Last Tuesday, a US Senate probe disclosed how lax controls at HSBC, Europe's biggest bank, left it vulnerable to being used to launder dirty money from around the world.

The report into HSBC said huge sums of Mexican drug money almost certainly passed through the bank. Suspicious funds from Syria, the Cayman Islands, Iran and Saudi Arabia also passed through.

HSBC has said it expects to be held accountable for what went wrong.

In his letter to Mr Leslie, Lord Green said that it was "not appropriate to comment on specifics" of HSBC money laundering allegations.

"With regards to the bank's efforts to address its AML [anti-money laundering] and OFAC [Office of Foreign Assets Control] compliance issues, HSBC has expressed its regret that there were failures of implementation in these areas, and I share that regret," he said.

"HSBC have always sought to do the right thing and, when things go wrong, worked hard to put them right.

"I have sought to embody these values in my own work and to react appropriately to emerging issues both as CEO [chief executive officer] and chairman of HSBC."

Lord Green was chief executive of HSBC from 2003 to 2006 and then chairman until 2010.

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