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Gulliver cements HSBC legacy with DPA removal

Outgoing chief executive was determined to leave HSBC without the deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) continuing to loom over the bank’s entire business and reputation.

CEO Stuart Gulliver wanted to get HSBC out from under the DPA before he left

Monday’s news that the US Department of Justice will file a motion with the District Court for the Eastern District of New York seeking the dismissal of the prosecution charges deferred by an agreement struck with HSBC in December 2012 will be cause for celebration in Canary Wharf.

For five years the threat of new misdemeanours emerging that might trigger the most severe penalties has hung over the British bank. HSBC has operated in a quiet state of near paranoia since it accepted responsibility for its criminal responsibility in wilfully failing to maintain effective anti-money laundering controls and to conduct due diligence on its foreign correspondent affiliates, specifically in Mexico.  

In 2012, the shock of what had been uncovered in the bank’s handling of drug-dealers’ money and dealing with sanctioned countries was red raw.

Back then, assistant attorney general Lanny Breuer said: “HSBC is being held accountable for stunning failures of oversight – and worse – that led the bank to permit narcotics traffickers and others to launder hundreds of millions of dollars through HSBC subsidiaries, and to facilitate hundreds of millions more in transactions with sanctioned countries.

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