All too often the headlines referencing banks and money laundering tell a story of alleged failings and criminals successfully laundering the proceeds of their crimes. So please look at the above headline and, in the event you work for HSBC, push your chest out, put your chin up, take a deep breath, and suck in some pride.
On Friday, José Filomeno dos Santos, the son of the former president of Angola, was sentenced to five years imprisonment for trying to steal $500 million in government funds. He was sentenced alongside the former governor of the central bank, who got eight years behind bars.
The success of the case and the return of the $500 million to the people of Angola was due in no small part to the industry and diligence of staff at HSBC. In 2017, HSBC staff became suspicious about the proposed transfer of $500 million, reported it to the authorities, and blocked the account. The filing of the suspicious activity report led to an international investigation, the return of the funds, and the successful prosecution of the would-be thieves.
Previously, under the regime of President José Eduardo dos Santos (1979-2017), the vast majority of the population of Angola lived on $2 per day. Thus, $500 million buys a lot of healthcare and welfare for a nation desperately seeking reform and improved equality, where for many years corrupt politicians and their cronies become incredibly rich while the majority of the population lived in poverty. There can be no doubt: This money will save lives. There can also be no doubt the anti-money laundering efforts of the staff at HSBC contributed significantly to making this happen.
Spread the news and share this story. What we do really matters and sometimes we make a huge difference. Well done to the staff at HSBC—you did a great job here.