HSBC's Drug Trade

July 16, 2012

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) 16 July 2012 -- Global banking giant HSBC failed to prevent billions of dollars worth of money transfers that Senate investigators believe were linked to drug cartels and terrorist groups, according to a report released Monday.

The Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations said London-based HSBC (HBC) failed to review thousands of suspicious transactions and properly vet clients over the past decade.

Among other issues, the report notes that in 2007 and 2008, HSBC's Mexico unit shipped $7 billion in cash to the bank's U.S. affiliate, a volume of shipments that law enforcement officials said could reach that size "only if they included illegal drug proceeds."

HSBC Mexico had a number of high-profile clients linked to drug trafficking, the report says, as well as "a huge backlog of accounts marked for closure due to suspicious activity, but whose closures were delayed."

And Our Very Own "Real Bank"
How Convenient

Regarding the financial operations of El Parque there are or were many relevant parties. Lloyd's (now Actinver), Santander Serfin, HSBC, the El Parque Board (Treasurer), the Administrator, and 112 El Parque homeowners have all played an important part in creating the financial fiasco that currently exists here at El Parque.

In order to understand how this issue became what it is today, everyone should have a clear picture of the history of El Parque's financial dealings over the past 6 or 7 years. Lloyd's (now Actinver)started it all. Omar O'Rourke, El Parque's builder and contractor, chose Lloyd's as the financial building block for this condominium because of the convenience of family connections. The vast majority of El Parque's homeowners and the El Parque homeowners' association established and maintained and continue to maintain accounts at Lloyd's. To the best of my knowledge EVERYONE with the exception of the current Board Treasure and by extension the current board has been reasonably well pleased with their association with Lloyds. For the past six years, El Parque homeowners have paid their fees by simply transferring the amount of their condo fees from their personal accounts at Lloyds to the El Parque account at Lloyds.

Santander Serfin, a "real bank" entered the picture because all El Parque operational expenses had to be paid by check and because Lloyd's (not yet Actinver) did not provide checking accounts. This caused a minor problem for the Administrator and board that was resolved by periodically transferring funds from Lloyds to Santander Serfin in order to pay all operational expenses. Despite some minor inconveniences for the Administrator and our accountant in Guadalajara, this system worked well for six years.

A crisis arose in December of last year when El Parque was successfully sued (incompetence?) and our accounts at Santander Serfin were legally frozen. We could no longer write checks on the Santander Serfin account.

HSBC entered the picture when an emergency checking account was evidently established at HSBC by the board treasurer in order to pay El Parque's ongoing operational expenses. That strategy worked even though, evidently, the board and Administrator arbitrarily decided that the homeowners should not be advised under some board-improvised NEED TO KNOW policy. Despite their presence at an AGM in February, the vast majority of homeowners were kept totally unaware of any HSBC involvement until July of this year.

As of July of this year, Lloyd's became a "real bank" (Activer) and began offering checking services. Ironically, at about that same time, the treasurer issued an edict and instructions to the homeowners that they should pay their fees through HSBC. He, and by extension the Board, simply assumed this authority without consultation with any of the homeowners. All of our financial dealings could now easily be consolidated at Actinver but the board and the Administrator evidently feel they have the right to tell the homeowners what is best for them despite the inconvenience and cost it will cause all the homeowners.

Therein lies the rub. Naturally, I have no problem with paying my fees (even the unwarranted incompetence fees) but I strongly object to an arrogant treasurer, board and administrator telling me that I must do it in the way that they dictate when it is totally unnecessary. Given the recent flap about HSBC, it may not only be unnecessary but also immoral.

The 112 homeowners enter the picture only to the point that they seem to be willing to meekly just do what they are told by a board that has a history of assuming authorities they neither have nor deserve.

posted by Anonymous: 10:29 AM, August 17, 2012

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