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  1. #1
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    May 2006

    Zapata family suing bank

    Jaime J. Zapata, slain ICE special agent and Brownsville native

    Posted: Thursday, February 11, 2016 8:03 pm

    The family of slain U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Special Agent Jaime J. Zapata — and other victims of alleged terrorist attacks in Mexico — have filed a federal lawsuit against HSBC Holdings Inc., claiming the bank laundered billions of dollars for Mexican drug cartels.

    The lawsuit alleges the drug cartels used the laundered money to fund terroristic acts that included the attack on Zapata and several other U.S. citizens in Mexico .

    “ HSBC’s systematic and prolonged support in providing financial services and laundering billions of dollars of drug proceeds for the Sinaloa , Juarez, Los Zetas and Norte del Valle cartels proximately caused the attacks on the Victims and the injuries to Plaintiffs, including the Victims’ estates, survivors and heirs,” the lawsuit states.

    Zapata, 32, a Brownsville native who worked for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, was killed Feb. 15, 2011, on a highway near San Luis Potosi , Mexico , in an attack by members of the Zetas drug cartel. His ICE partner, Victor Avila, was wounded in the attack.

    Authorities said Zapata struggled with his assailants as they tried to drag him out of his vehicle. Zapata was shot at least three times with the bullets flying through the car window that accidentally had been cracked open. Authorities said 100 spent casings from AK-47 bullets were found at the scene.

    According to the lawsuit, some of the last words Zapata uttered were, “I am going to die.”

    The other victims listed in the lawsuit are Lesley Enriquez Redelfs, an employee of the U.S. Consulate Office in Ciudad Juarez, and her husband, Arthur Redelfs , a detention officer for the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department, and Rafael Morales Jr., a U. S citizen, his uncle, Guadalupe Morales and brother, Jaime Morales Valencia.

    Besides HSBC Holdings Inc., being listed as the defendant, other defendants include HSBC Bank U.S.A., N.A., HSBC Mexico S.A., Institucion de Banca Multiple, Grup Financiero HSBC and Grupo Financiero HSBC, S.A. de C.V.

    The lawsuit alleges that leading up to the attacks on the agents and other victims of drug cartel violence, HSBC knowingly laundered money for the Mexican cartels who committed the attacks, including the Sinaloa , Juarez and Los Zetas cartels, knowing or “disregarding the fact that said funds would be used to support the Mexican cartels and their terrorist acts against Mexican and U.S. citizens.”

    The lawsuit states HSBC intentionally implemented “criminally deficient anti-money laundering (AML) programs.”

    According to the lawsuit, employees at HSBC Mexican branches routinely accepted hundreds of thousands of dollar in deposits from people with no “identifiable source of income,” the suit states. In addition, some employees refused to close accounts that had been connected to money laundering and allowed them to be open for years, though they had been ordered to stay closed, according to the lawsuite .

    The lawsuit also states USBC Mexican branch employees were paid money to open the accounts.

    “In multiple instances, employees accepted bribes payments from cartel money launderers to accept or process illicit proceeds and help orchestrate massive and sophisticated money laundering schemes for the cartels,” the lawsuit alleges.

    The lawsuit states HSBC admitted to anti-money laundering failures and accepted criminal liability for them and admitted that as a result of those failures at least $881 million of drug cartel proceeds were laundered through its banks.

    Because HSBC allowed money laundering in its financial institution that was ultimately funding the works of the drug cartels, it is liable under the Anti-Terrorism Act for the injuries sustained by victims and their families, the lawsuit states.

    In December 2012, HSBC Group entered into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement, or DPA, in which it admitted failure to properly maintain an effective Anti-Money Laundering Program. As part of its DPA, HSBC paid $1.9 billion in forfeiture and fines.

    The families are requesting the maximum judgment allowed including “reasonable costs” and attorney fees. The lawsuit against HSBC was filed earlier this week in a U.S. District Court in Brownsville .
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  2. #2
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    Senior Member MW's Avatar
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    Jun 2006
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    I certainly hope the families of the victims get a huge payday from this. The bank deserves to be hit and hit hard for knowingly associating with the drug cartels.

    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" ** Edmund Burke**

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