(Dr. Jerome Corsi) – A whistleblower who divulged to WND an international money-laundering scheme by HSBC that now is under federal investigation says he is not impressed with the banking giantâ€™s attempt to resolve the scandal.
John Cruz, a former HSBC vice president and relationship manager in New York, told WND the bankâ€™s strategy is to avoid criminal prosecution by paying the federal government up to $1 billion in fines.
If the bank gets its way, Cruz said, HSBC employees, including senior management, might walk free and avoid surrendering any financial gains from their activities.
â€œHSBC is trying to put an end to the investigation of money laundering, but, according to my attorney, the voice recordings I made of bank officials and the documents I brought out of the bank are very damaging to the bank,â€ Cruz told WND.
HSBC has apologized for a â€œshamefulâ€ systems breakdown from 2004 to 2010 and is prepared to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in fines in a scandal that was exposed in a series of investigative WND reports that began in February. Cruz turned over 1,000 pages of evidence to WND he pulled from a bank computer system before he was fired. He was terminated in 2010, after two years at HSBC, for â€œpoor performance.â€ But he contends he was let go because senior management didnâ€™t want to him to pursue his personal investigation.
Cruz previously told WND he met with special agents with the IRS criminal division in April and handed over a computer disc with copies of his internal documents. The agents, according to Cruz, were overwhelmed with the volume and detail of the information, calling it â€œmind-boggling.â€
As WND reported, law enforcement authorities sat on Cruzâ€™s allegations until the story was exposed by WND.
A Senate report released last month presents evidence HSBC abetted massive money laundering by Iran, terrorist organizations, drug cartels and organized criminals throughout the world. The report said HSBC transferred $19 billion for Iran and $7 billion in physical cash for Mexico.
WND also reported evidence that Eric Holderâ€™s Justice Department has not investigated money-laundering charges in deference to bank clients of his Washington-based law firm, where Holder was a partner prior to joining the Obama administration.
â€˜A culture of fraudâ€™
HSBC now is in settlement discussions with the Manhattan District Attorneyâ€™s Office and attorneys representing the Department of Justice and the Treasury Department.
In July, HSBC announced it had reserved $700 million for any U.S. fines after the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations exposed that the bank was involved in terrorism-related, money-laundering activities.
In addition to the bank records, Cruz has recordings of dozens of hours of incriminating discussions he held with fellow bank employees â€“ from bank tellers to branch managers to executives â€“ before he was fired.
â€œThe whole system is designed to be a culture of fraud to make it look like itâ€™s a legal system,â€ Cruz said. â€œBut itâ€™s not.â€
Cruz explained that even when he let bank managers know he was taping the conversation, the managers were not interested in what he was saying.
â€œHSBC is a criminal organization,â€ he emphasized. â€œIt is a culture of crime.â€
As WND previously reported, Cruz has applied to the Securities and Exchange Commission for whistleblower status, and he is pursuing a wrongful termination against the bank.
To make his charges public, Cruz published a book in 2011, â€œWorld Banking World Fraud: Using Your Identity.â€