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United States v. HSBC Bank USA, N.A. and HSBC Holdings PLC

2016 WL 347670 (2016)

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United States v. HSBC Bank USA, N.A. and HSBC Holdings PLC

United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York

2016 WL 347670 (2016)

Facts

In 2012 the United States government (plaintiff) charged HSBC Bank, USA, N.A. (HSBC) (defendant) with facilitating financial transactions in violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the Trading with the Enemy Act and with failing to enact an adequate anti-money-laundering program, in violation of the Bank Secrecy Act. The government and HSBC proposed a deferred-prosecution agreement (the agreement) with the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, requesting that the court defer the case for five years in order for HSBC to improve its compliance procedures. The agreement contained a proposal that a corporate-compliance monitor (the monitor) be assigned to oversee HSBC’s efforts to improve its compliance procedures and file reports with the court updating the court on HSBC’s progress. If HSBC adequately improved its compliance procedures within five years, the government would refrain for prosecuting it. In 2015 the monitor filed a report (the report) with the court detailing HSBC’s progress pursuant to the agreement, and the report was sealed. Hubert Dean Moore, Jr., filed a motion to unseal the report, arguing that the report was a judicial document and that the public had a right to access the report. The government and HSBC opposed the motion, arguing that the report contained sensitive information related to HSBC employees, HSBC processes that could be exploited by criminals, and HSBC’s actions in foreign countries.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Gleeson, J.)

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