Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Global Exchange’s 2014 Most Wanted List Names HSBC Bank as #8 . . . and so well deserved!!!

CEO: Stuart Gulliver
Chairman: Douglas Flint
[both of whom I would dearly love to meet in a quiet, dark corner of the Aceh rainforest]

USA Headquarters:
452 5th Ave
New York, NY 10018
Phone: (212) 525-5000

Abuses: money laundering; financing conflict palm oil producers; destruction of land
HSBC is a leading global bank primarily involved in investment banking, originating from the United Kingdom and operating in over 85 countries. HSBC finances the production of palm oil as a financial backer and shareholder in companies like Sime Darby and Wilmar International[You remember Wilmar, the largest Palm oil company in Indonesia.] 

HSBC’s financial activity allows for land grabs and human rights violations in Malaysia, Indonesia, Liberia, and Uganda; in result these countries are facing severe land and environmental degradation including deforestation.
Production of conflict palm oil (an edible vegetable oil extracted from the pulp of palm fruit) is a world crisis causing extensive human rights violations and environmental degradation. HSBC’s financial assistance to palm oil producers like Wilmar is contributing to destruction of high conservation value land areas in Malaysia and Indonesia without approval of the local communities. People are being deprived of food and livelihood as they are forcibly evicted from the land where they have lived and worked for years.
HSBC is a signatory of the UN Global Compact, in which the bank agreed to principles surrounding human rights and environmental responsibility, yet it continues to violate human rights and degrade the environment. Additionally, HSBC has its own sustainability principles, but does not act on them, despite Willmar’s clear violations. Wilmar owns palm oil plantations and refineries in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Uganda. On Kalangala Island in Uganda, HSBC and Wilmar are responsible for the deforestation for 3,600 hectares, which has displaced farmers and families without compensation. Islanders are robbed of food, medicine, and livelihood. HSBC does not only loan money to Wilmar, but also has shares in the company.
Additionally, in 2012 HSBC was charged with cases of money laundering. In 2002 HSBC bought the Mexican bank Banco Internacional, S.A.; a review conducted before this purchase showed the bank did not have a functioning compliance program, but HSBC did not take preemptive action and tighten its anti-money laundering policies. According to the U.S. Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations’
2012 Report, HSBC is guilty of “a wide array of money laundering, drug trafficking, and terrorist financing.” Over the past decades, HSBC has funneled billions of dollars to drug lords, rogue nations, and even Saudi banks that are linked to terrorism. The Senate report says that HSBC had significant financial connections with Saudi Arabia's Al Rajhi Bank, and evidence indicates that the bank’s founder was “an early financial benefactor of al Qaeda.” Additionally, HSBC’s Mexican affiliate channeled $7 billion into the U.S. between 2007 and 2008 through money laundering for Mexican drug cartels, according to the Senate report.
Despite HSBC’s criminal behavior, the Senate deemed the bank “too big to prosecute.” The bank and the executives involved in the laundering decisions were granted immunity and still remain in leadership at the corporation. The only punishment for its crimes was a $1.9 billion fine, which is equal to about one month of HSBC’s profits. Although the corporation was fined for its criminal behavior, the executives were granted immunity from being individually prosecuted. With immunity granted to the executives, HSBC continues to prevail and put profits before people, even if it means engaging in criminal activity.

Does anyone besides me think that there is something terribly, terribly wrong here?  "Too big to prosecute?"  Immunity?  Have we all gone mad???
The LEAST they can do, as far as Aceh goes, is to sever ties with Wilmar.  Is that too much to ask? 

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