LONDON, July 24 UK Trade Minister Stephen Green
said he "regrets" the compliance failings of HSBC in
relation to alleged money laundering when he was chairman there,
but said he had no plans to quit.
"HSBC has expressed regret that there were failures at
implementation ... and I share that regret," Green said in a
letter to Chris Leslie, financial secretary to the UK Treasury
for the opposition Labour Party.
Green also told Sky News he had "no case to answer" over the
money laundering and said he had no plans to resign.
His letter said HSBC had said it would fix what went wrong,
and "it would not be appropriate" for him to comment further.
A U.S. Senate panel last week alleged HSBC acted as a
financier to clients routing funds from the world's most
dangerous corners, including Mexico, Iran and Syria, doing
regular business in areas tied to drug cartels, terrorist
funding and tax cheats. It said between 2007 and 2008 HSBC's
Mexican operations moved $7 billion into the bank's U.S.
Green was head of the bank at the time, serving as chief
executive from 2003 until 2006 and then stepping up to chairman
until he left in December 2010. He became trade minister early
in 2011 and has faced calls in the last week to explain HSBC's
lax controls under his watch.
Money laundering problems at HSBC have been flagged by
regulators for nearly a decade and the bank is facing a Justice
Department investigation and potential $1 billion fine.
Asked if Green had questions to answer and should remain a
minister, Business Secretary Vince Cable told Reuters: "He is a
very good trade minister and that is what the prime minister
hired him for and he is doing that job very well.
"The criticisms have nothing to do with his own personal
involvement in those activities or anything remotely like it. It
has now become a complex legal dispute in the United States and
his former company will deal with that in a proper legal basis,"