The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, which was made to pay a US$1.9 billion fine for laundering the money of Mexican drugs cartels is today named as a major bank involved in the laundering of massive boiler room fraud money in Asia.
In December 2011 the bank apologized and agreed to take on a ‘compliance officer’after the Mexican drug cartel debacle.
And last year it was fined again for transferring money on behalf of Hezbollah – a matter brought to to the attention of the US Treasury by the compliance officer himself – Everett Stern who commented: “They admit to financing terrorism and they get fined $32,000. Where if I were to do that, I would go to jail for life.”
And now the banking giant, its claimed, has been the bank of choice for ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ share scammers – mainly Brits and Americans based out of Bangkok where hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested in the sex trade.
|Thai dancers at a boiler room run bar in Nana Plaza|
Today the Fraud Recovery Group, comprising a group of some 90 victims who have defrauded by the scammers, operating, what are known as boiler rooms, named the banks used to launder money cheated out of unsuspecting clients in Britain, Europe and Australia.
And HSBC is shown to have provided banking facilities in at least seven accounts for seven different boiler room operations at branches in Hong Kong.
“We accept responsibility for our past mistakes. We have said we are profoundly sorry for them, and we do so again. The HSBC of today is a fundamentally different organization from the one that made those mistakes,” – HSBC Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver – after the mexican drug cartel fiasco
Also named are the Bank of East Asia, the Hang Seng Bank, Citybank, Cathay United Bank and China Trust Commercial Bank.
The Bank of East Asia, claims the FRG, providing four accounts for three boiler room operations at its branches in Jervis Road, Hong Kong.
The Hang Seng Bank provided three accounts for three different boiler rooms at is branch in Des Voeux Road, Hong Kong.
The China Commercial Trust provided seven accounts for two boiler room operations in its branches at its branches at OBU, the International Financial Centre, and at Finance Street,
Citibank (Hong Kong) provided one account for a boiler room operation at his branch in King’s Road, Quarry Bay.
And Cathay United Bank provided four accounts for one boiler room operation at its branch in Harbour Road, Wanchai.
A Fraud Recovery Group spokesman said:
“Our due diligence has revealed that for this large-scale international boiler room scam (investment fraud) to have succeeded, which involved defrauding thousands of victims out of hundreds of millions of dollars. The fraudsters had to be assisted, knowingly or otherwise, by a number of internationally recognised banks, in what appears to be acts of gross negligence and/or in contravention of ‘International Standards on Combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism & Proliferation – the FATF’.
“There is little doubt that ‘business accounts’ were opened in these banks with the sole purpose of receiving and quickly transferring the substantial amounts of fraudulently obtained monies to other financial institutions. Despite the continuation of the inflow and outflow of vast amounts of ‘laundered’ money passing across these accounts, there is little evidence, if any, these banks ever questioned the origins of these funds or raised any ‘Suspicious Activity Reports’ (SARS) with their respective financial regulators.
“We have received due diligence indicating that bank officials in one specific jurisdiction have been paid to open receiving transaction accounts on behalf of the fraud syndicate.’
Hundreds of millions of dollars of the swindled cash has been moved into Thailand where crime syndicates have laundered it into the country’s lucrative sex trade. The Hong Kong Banks are in the main ‘skipping’ banks and the money is transferred on before being transferred to Thai banks, or brought in – in cash – the preferred route.
The banks of Thai lawyers, police, and even politicians, have been used, said the FRG spokesman and an Army General and Immigration Police had assisted the operations.
The master lease of Nana Entertainment Plaza in Bangkok is now in the hands of the same boiler room operators, through Thai nominees; as are sex venues in Soi Cowboy and the resort city of Pattaya, and Patong Beach, Phuket. Many sports and themed bars in the Thai capital are also under boiler room control as well as the most popular night clubs.
The principal conduit for these operations is the Eclipse Group running by Briton Paul Hayward, from Birmingham but nomially headed by Irishman Micky Doherty. US boiler room operator Glendon Bullard sub-leases many bars in the Nana Entertainment Plaza.
|Strudwicke – and Thai wife Anne|
Laundered money brought in in suitcases has also been used to buy up a range of villas in Pattaya, Koh Samui and Phuket.
The FRG has named one Briton David Strudwicke, one Dutchman, Albert André Hoogeveen, and an American citizen Michael Le Port, as the people who signed for off-the-shelf-companies, based in Hong Kong, and the Philippines.
Briton Strudwicke, 38, from Sutton Coldfield, formerly worked as a barman in ‘Dublin Jack’s’ in Hong Kong before opening the Bears Den in Chiang Mai (now closed).
|Boiler room boys have a handsome stake in
this club in Soi Cowboy, Bangkok
But the latter was only a cover. He used to work for a British boiler room operator in Bangkok, known as ‘The Animal’ and is now reported to be working for Canadian operators.
The FRG claim he also as instrumental in moving boiler room cash to a resort in Australia – Mollymook, NSW.
Among many companies he registered himself as a director of was Grand Shaw Holdings in Singapore and in the Philippines, with an account in Hong Kong, a boiler room which was shut down by the Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission, after a complaint from Singapore Police. The Philippines SEC found that the addresses of the directors were either fictitious or the directors were unknown at the addresses.
|Strudwicke’s signature on company registration|
Boiler rooms work with impunity in Thailand and boast they have both the army and police under their control – because they share in the profits.
Thai Police say they cannot prosecute without the victims. Boiler rooms are frequently raided but these appear to be money gathering operations as none of the bosses have made it to the courts.
SOCA, now the National Crime Agency, have had details of British victims for several years.
An HSBC spokesman said: “”We cannot comment on these allegations at this time. We take such allegations seriously and will investigate them thoroughly. HSBC is committed to stopping money laundering and financial crime.”
CHIANG MAI BRIT EARNED US$100,000 A MONTH
#DavidStrudwicke #GrandShawHoldingGroup #BillHaines #BoilerRooms #WolvesofBangkok
#PaulHayward #GlendonBullard #MarkHutcherson
The FRG has now changed its name to the CDV – Confederation of Defrauded Victims
For up to date information on Paul Hayward, Glendon Bullard, and Mark Hutcherson go to FraudRecoveryBlog