JULY 12, 2016
George Osborne intervened to talk down the punishment handed to HSBC by US authorities after the bank breached sanctions and money laundering rules, according to a new US congressional report. HSBC, which agreed to pay a record-breaking $1.92bn (£1.46bn) in a deferred prosecution agreement in December 2012, was spared criminal charges after the UK raised fears of a “global financial disaster”, the report from US Republicans on the financial services committee said.
The Chancellor contacted Ben Bernanke, who was then chairman of the Federal Reserve, to discuss scaling back the punishments against British banks two months before HSBC’s deferred prosecution agreement was announced. The new report entitled “Too Big To Jail”, which criticises President Barack Obama’s track record on policing the finance industry, claims that Mr Osborne warned that the US crackdown on large banks’ behaviour “raised unwanted questions about potential US hostility to London as a financial centre”.