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I assure you your downvote and your knee-jerk sanctimony doesn't go unappreciated, but what you described is exactly what I said was happening, not what you say is happening.

We're not talking about a fine for executives laundering money, we're talking about fines about 'a lack of proper anti-money laundering controls, despite evidence of suspicious activity'. This is weasel-speak for 'we found something suspicious but can't prove anyone important was involved.'

The decision-makers who would have seen this 'evidence' would probably be layers removed from HSBC top management. That executives are being blamed for this in the court of public opinion is part of the reason why companies are turning to massive Orwellian computer systems to monitor all financial activity.

Yep. If you dig into that story (big news at community banks in Japan), the "bombshell" is that Russians like paying Japanese used car dealers for cars, and that Japanese used car dealers are happy to oblige them, especially with regards to cars that are uneconomic to continue driving in Japan [+]. The US leaned on HSBC which followed up with a local Japanese bank. The local Japanese bank was disinclined to pry into its customers businesses all that much on behalf of a foreign regulator, relaying to HSBC a sentiment which probably wasn't literally "They're customers of long standing and are, legitimately, car dealers. Please give our regards to the Americans and tell them that the Occupation is over." but likely came close. The US told HSBC this was unacceptable and HSBC followed up with its customers (the Japanese regional banks), who said "Which part did you not understand the first time?"

[+] There exists a tax on automobiles which increases with age and which, fairly quickly, causes the tax to cost more than the residual value of the automobile. It is justified as a public safety measure, since you get an inspection when paying the tax, but is actually a straight-out subsidy to domestic car manufacturers, since it essentially mandates "Despite the fact that your products work for decades, customers are required to buy a new model every 6 years."

[Edit: I should add that while Hokuriku doesn't give one the impression of being impressively well-organized from the notes in the Senate investigation that my tiny bank in central Japan believes in KYC so much that their manager-at-the-time both successfully intuited "Patrick is seeing someone." and "Patrick has broken up with his girlfriend." from changes in my cash withdraw patterns and wrote these observations down in their log just in case the next manager needed them. I have many fun anecdotes from working with them, like the time my gym botched a withdraw request and received a blisteringly polite note in Japanese saying that no one with the specified name had an account at the bank and if, hypothetically speaking, the gym had business with one of the bank's customers then it should, hypothetically speaking, extend him the common courtesy of spelling his name right.]

The gym misspelled your name and your bank told them off? I'd love for some amount of the infamous Japanese formality to become more commonplace here...

"For example, HBUS carried out 28,000 undisclosed sensitive transactions between 2001 and 2007, an internal audit commissioned by the bank found. The vast majority of those transactions - worth $19.7bn - involved Iran."

Seems like they got fined for being super shady.

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