Osborne blocked HSBC prosecution in money laundering probe

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The Chancellor George Osborne and the FSA intervened in US investigations that could have seen HSBC prosecuted for money laundering.

A US Congressional investigation published yesterday, claims the regulator “hampered the US government’s investigations” and “influenced” the decision not to prosecute Britain’s biggest bank, Sky News reports.

The report adds: “George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, the UK’s chief financial minister, intervened in the HSBC matter by sending a letter to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke… to express the UK’s concerns regarding US enforcement actions against British banks.”

HSBC agreed to pay £1.2bn to settle the money-laundering probe in 2012 in the largest penalty of its kind.

However, US authorities decided not to prosecute.

The reason given was the Justice Department’s “leadership’s concern that prosecuting the bank would have serious adverse consequences on the financial system.”