Dept. of Justice seeks to block release of secret report on HSBC on money laundering after bank admits wrongdoing

The U.S. government has filed a legal brief with the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals asking it to overturn an Order by U.S. District Court Judge John Gleeson to make public a report by the bank’s outside monitor.”Public disclosure of the monitor’s report, even in redacted form, would hinder the monitor’s ability to supervise HSBC,” the government’s court filing said, adding that bank employees would be less likely to cooperate with the monitor if they knew their interactions could be released. The brief was filed after U.S. congressional investigators were critical top officials in the Department of Justice for overruling internal recommendations to criminally prosecute HSBC for money-laundering violations.

In 2012 fined HSBC and entered into a five-year deferred prosecution agreement that stipulated all charges would be dropped if the bank agreed to install an independent monitor to help improve compliance. In the settlement, HSBC admitted to violating U.S. sanctions laws and failing to stop Mexican and Colombian cartels from laundering hundreds of millions of dollars in drug proceeds through the bank.

Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers.