A CIA report claims that Saddam Hussein was able to transfer money through an HSBC account in Jordan in the 1990s in order to avoid United Nations trade sanctions. An HSBC spokesman expressed surprise at the claim and said 'we are investigating it. The best I can tell you is we have very robust anti-money-laundering and anti-fraud measures (in place), and we're looking into this'.
Meanwhile Standard Chartered has just signed off on an agreement with the Federal Reserve in the US to upgrade the money laundering procedures it follows at its New York Office. According to The Wall Street Journal, the agreement indicates that US authorities 'discovered shortcomings in the bank's monitoring of suspicious transactions as well as its due diligence in correspondent accounts'. ABN Amro has, of course, recently signed up to a similar agreement.
Talking of ABN, the FBI and the US Justice Department are said to be looking at a numbered Swiss bank account controlled by a Saudi 'tycoon'. The account, held at ABN's Geneva office, is believed to have been used in 1998 to make an anonymous donation of $300,000 to an Islamic group suspected of having terrorist sympathies.