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House committee claims DOJ not 'forthright' regarding HSBC investigation

The U.S.House of Representatives Financial Services Committee claimed that the U.S.Department of Justice has "not been forthright" in its decision tonot prosecute HSBC Holdings Plcand HSBC Bank USA NAin relation to alleged violations of anti-money laundering and sanctions lawsand related offenses.

In a July11 news release, the committee released the highlights of its findings in an investigationof the Justice Department. The report stated that senior DOJ leadership,including then-Attorney General Eric Holder, overruled an internalrecommendation by Justice's own Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Sectionto prosecute HSBC because of the concern that prosecuting the bank would haveserious adverse consequences on the financial system.

Thecommittee's investigation also claimed that the DOJ completed itsinvestigations and enforcement actions involving HSBC at an "alarmingspeed" in order to "beat" the New York Department of FinancialServices, and in the process transmitting settlement numbers to HSBC before consulting its ownOffice of Foreign Asset Control, which in turn ensures that settlementsaccurately reflect the full degree of the violations.

Thecommittee initiated its investigation in March 2013.