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U.S. Senate Report Accuses HSBC Of Skirting Iran Sanctions

A U.S. Senate report says that for years, the global bank HSBC allowed sanctioned Iranian entities, as well as drug dealers and terrorists, to move billions of dollars in illicit funds through the American financial system.

The report said HSBC executives were aware of billions of dollars of "concealed Iranian transactions" through its branches since 2001 but allowed thousands of the transactions to continue until 2007.

It said the bank's Mexican affiliate moved $7 billion in cash to the United States during a single year, raising suspicions it was laundering drug-trade profits.

The report also said HSBC worked with affiliates in Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh with links to terrorist financing.

At a hearing in Congress, David Bagley, a top compliance executive at HSBC, told lawmakers he would step down.

HSBC has pledged its "absolute commitment to fixing what went wrong."

Based on reporting by AFP, AP, Reuters, and dpa