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HSBC's global spread left it open to crime, CEO says

Feb 06 2013 Steve Slater, Reuters

HSBC's was forced into its biggest restructuring in almost 150 years because the bank's complex structure and wide geographical spread had made it attractive to criminals, its chief executive said. "Our structure was not fit for purpose for a modern world," Stuart Gulliver told lawmakers on a British banking inquiry on Wednesday. "Our geographic footprint became very attractive to trans-national criminal organisations, whether they are terrorist in origin or criminal in origin." HSBC, whose former slogan "The world's local bank" reflects its presence in more than 80 countries, was in December given a $1.9 billion fine, the largest ever imposed on a bank, following a U.S. investigation into its Mexican and U.S. operations. The probe made scathing criticism of HSBC's anti-money-laundering systems and found its lax controls allowed two drug cartels to move $881 million through the bank. "We've crushed our reputation with the Mexico events," Gulliver said. "The behavioural

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