Meng, Huawei and Canadian Law: Soap, Rinse and Dry-Laundered

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin ... No. 2132 ... June 25, 2020
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Meng, Huawei and Canadian Law: Soap, Rinse and Dry-Laundered

Harry Glasbeek

Prologue

One of the graver risks for big-time criminals is that investigators will be able to identify them and their deeds by ‘following the money’. The criminals have to hide the proceeds of their crimes. This is done by depositing their monies into legitimate finance houses and businesses. It often requires some fancy book-keeping tricks and intricate transactions. This is called layering by the afficionados of this dark art. Once it is done, the criminals can draw on the accounts created and mix the ill-gotten gains with legally garnered capital. The term for this is ‘integration’ and it makes the investigators’ tasks much harder. The rotten fruit of crime will have been laundered.

In 2012, HSBC, a global bank, whose origins are connected to Hong Kong and Shanghai and whose headquarters are now in London, admitted that it had participated in funneling what it acknowledged to have been suspect money, including some used to breach sanctions imposed on US enemies. It had... helped launder $881-million for Colombian and Mexican drug cartels, including the notorious Sinaloa cartel headed by Chapo Guzman. The US Department of Justice, which obtained HSBC’s admission, reported that the cartel’s operatives deposited hundreds of thousands of dollars daily and that it was made very convenient for them: HSBC branches designed teller windows with the precise dimensions to fit the cartels’ boxes when they were delivered by their employees. Caught with its fists in drug money boxes, a settlement was agreed-to by HSBC. The bank agreed to pay what was then the largest fine ever, $1.9-billion (which was the equivalent of 5 weeks of the bank’s global income), and entered into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement that promised that they would not do any of this again. The bank is currently the 7th largest bank in the world.

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