Judges keep HSBC report secret

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NEW YORK — A US appeals court on Wednesday blocked the release of a report discussing HSBC Holdings Plc’s progress in improving its controls against money laundering, reversing a judge’s order that the report be made public.

The 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said US district judge John Gleeson abused his discretion in his January 2016 ruling that the public had a constitutional right of access to the report under the First Amendment.

HSBC had agreed to a monitor in December 2012, when it accepted a $1,92 billion fine and five-year deferred prosecution agreement to resolve a US Department of Justice criminal probe.

The department said HSBC had become a preferred bank for Mexican drug cartels and other money launderers, and conducted transactions for customers in several countries barred by US sanctions.

Wednesday’s decision was a victory for HSBC and the Justice Department, which have said releasing the report could compromise efforts to fight money laundering, including for terrorism, and discourage co-operation with law enforcement.

It was a defeat for Hubert Dean Moore, a Pennsylvania man who was an HSBC mortgage customer before filing for bankruptcy. — Reuters.

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