HSBC money laundering documents delayed on US appeal

HSBC appeals money laundering document release

A US judge has agreed to delay the release of documents which reportedly show that HSBC “moved too slowly” in enhancing its anti-money laundering compliance program.

US District Judge John Gleeson on Wednesday delayed the release while prosecutors and London-based HSBC appeal his January ruling requiring the unsealing of a report by a federal monitor appointed as part of a 2012 deferred prosecution deal.

Gleeson also agreed to have parts of documents redacted from the January 2015 report by former New York prosecutor Michael Cherkasky.

Gleeson says redacting certain parts of those documents would minimize risks that criminals would exploit weaknesses in the anti-money laundering and sanctions compliance programs.

Gleeson also rejected many of HSBC’s requests, calling them, “over-inclusive.”

Among the findings HSBC wanted redacted, Gleeson said, was Cherkasky’s conclusion that the bank “moved too slowly and made too little progress toward instilling the type of culture it will need” to build an effective compliance program.

Gleeson’s order was made on his last day on the bench. He is set to join law firm Debevoise & Plimpton.

HSBC came under fire after prosecutors claimed that it became the “preferred financial institution” for Mexican drug cartels and other money launderers in several countries.

HSBC and the Justice Department have opposed the report’s unsealing, saying it could provide a “road map” for criminals planning to launder money.

HSBC and the Justice Department have indicated they will appeal.

The case is U.S. v. HSBC Bank USA NA et al, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York, No. 12-cr-00763.