Last week Argentina levied a $6 million fine on HSBC Bank Argentina SA for money laundering. This comes on the heels of last week’s announcement that HSBC would pay a record $1.92 billion fine to US authorities for laundering money for Mexican drug cartels. The latter decision left many wondering exactly what kind of crime a banker has to commit before he goes to jail.
In July 2011, First Niagara Financial Group announced that it would buy 195 retail bank branches in New York and Connecticut from HSBC for around $1 billion.  HSBC acquired the branches when it bought the spooky Marine Midland in 1980.
According to Global Finance, the UK-headquartered HSBC Holdings is the world’s 3rd largest bank with $2.36 trillion in assets.  Formerly known as Hong Kong Shanghai Bank Corporation, HSBC has served as the world’s #1 drug money laundry since its inception as a repository for British Crown opium proceeds accrued during the Chinese Opium Wars. During the Vietnam War HSBC laundered CIA heroin proceeds.
(What follows is excerpted from Chapter 2: Hong Kong Shanghaied: Big Oil & Their Bankers…)
In Saigon the opium junta which Lucien Conein and Ed Lansdale had installed instructed the South Vietnamese military to dole out heroin to Chinese Triad syndicates who moved it to Hong Kong. The CIA’s Thai Generals used the same Chui Chao Triads as mafia kingpin Santos Trafficante. The Thais often sent morphine to Hong Kong, which was refined into heroin by the Hong Kong police. 
Deak & Company was the major gold dealer in Hong Kong and its operations were crucial to the CIA guns for heroin trade. Founded by OSS operative Nicholas Deak, it became the largest currency and gold trader in the US after WWII. Deak financed CIA adventures in Vietnam, the Mossadegh coup in Iran and the CIA’s assassination of nationalist Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba in the Congo. Deak used a Swiss subsidiary, Foreign Commerce Bank of Zurich, and its US Deak Perera branch to lure flight capital from wealthy Third World elites, mainly cocaine money from Argentina. When Deak suddenly went bankrupt in 1985, its Hong Kong depositors were left in the lurch. 
Long before the Vietnam War, the British elite had made a healthy living smuggling opium from the region. Lord Shelbourne launched the Chinese opium trade in 1783 with Scottish merchants from the East India Company and members of the House of Windsor-allied Knights of St. John Jerusalem.
Shelbourne’s chief propagandist was Adam Smith who worked for East India, which emerged from the slave-trading Levant Company and later became known as Chatham House, home to the powerful Royal Institute for International Affairs (RIIA). East India worked with members of two secret societies – the Muslim Assassins and the Christian Knights Templar – in organizing the global drug trade. In 1776 the high seas pirate Adam Smith wrote Wealth of Nations, which became the bible of international capitalism.
In the Far East the British organized the Triad Society, also known as the Society of Heaven and Earth, to smuggle their opium. Beginning in 1788 the Freemason Grand Lodge of England established lodges in China, one of which was the Triad Society. Another was known as the Order of the Swastika.
The Triads were so named due to the significance of the pyramid to the global elite. The apex of a pyramid represents a king’s power to the ancient Freemasons, who promote monarchy as a form of government. The base of a pyramid represents the masses of workers who are the king’s subjects. Superimposed with an inverted pyramid representing godly powers, the two pyramids form the Star of David, an ancient symbol used by the Freemason predecessor Knights Templar and now associated with the occult, Zionism and the state of Israel. 
In 1839 William Jardine- a Canton-based opium trafficker- steered Britain into the first Opium War after Chinese officials confiscated his stash. The second Opium War lasted from 1858-1860. Lord Palmerston commanded both expeditions for the Brits. He was also the High Priest of Scottish Rite Freemasonry in the British Empire. 
Throughout the 19th century the British families of Matheson, Keswick, Swire, Dent, Inchcape, Baring and Rothschild controlled the Chinese heroin traffic. The Inchcape’s and Baring’s Peninsular & Orient Steam Navigation Company (PONC) transported the dope around the world. When a British subject named Mohandas Ghandi spoke out against the opium trade in 1921, he was jailed by India’s British rulers for “undermining the revenue”.
To the US West Coast, the families brought Chinese coolies to build JP Morgan’s railroads, slave laborers who were kidnapped (shanghaied) by the Triads. The Triads came along too, setting up opium dens in San Francisco and Vancouver and using a network of Chinatowns as a channel for heroin. This network exists today. To the US East Coast the families brought African slaves and cotton. These same families built plantations and became kings of southern cotton on the backs of shanghaied Africans.
The Sutherland family, first cousins to the Mathesons, was the most powerful of these cotton families. The Barings owned the clipper ships, which brought cotton to the Old World, while shipping opium and slaves back to the New World. The Rothschild and Lehman families both entered the US via the pre-Civil War cotton trade.  The Lehman’s made their fortune smuggling cotton to the Union and guns to the Confederacy. The southern cotton barons were the channel through which the British fomented the US Civil War.
The American families Perkins, Astor and Forbes made millions off the opium trade. The Perkins’ founded Bank of Boston, which is today known as Credit Suisse First Boston. The Perkins and Morgan families endowed Harvard University. William Hathaway Forbes was a director at Hong Kong Shanghai Bank shortly after it was founded in 1866. John Murray Forbes was the US agent for the Barings banking family, which financed most of the early drug trade. The Forbes family heirs later launched Forbes magazine. Steve Forbes ran for President in 1996. John Jacob Astor invested his opium proceeds in Manhattan real estate and worked for British intelligence. The Astor family home in London sits opposite Chatham House.
The British-organized Shanghai Green Gangs cooperated with Chiang Kai-Shek, whose KMT Army came into being from a merger of several other Triad secret societies modeled after Scottish Freemasonry. The Masons trace their history back to the construction of the Tower of Babel. King Henry VIII opened Freemasonry to people other than builders who became known as Speculative Masons. Scottish Rite Freemasonry has thirty-two degrees of initiation, followed by a 33rd degree, which represents the human head atop the thirty-two vertebrae of the human back.  33rd degree Masons are said to be Illuminated. A British Crown-backed coalition of Chui Chao Green Gangs and KMT massacred trade unionists and socialists in Shanghai in 1927, putting into action the Masonic credo Ordo ab Chao (order out of chaos).
J. H. Keswick was a prominent figure in the British-run Shanghai International Settlements where his brother Sir William Johnston Keswick was chairman from the 1930’s until the 1949 Chinese Revolution. Following the revolution Chiang Kai-Shek landed in Taiwan and his KMT Army fled to Burma. Keswick and his Shanghai Green Gangs moved their heroin refineries into Hong Kong, which the British seized from Chinese revolutionaries.
Cantonese heroin trafficker William Jardine followed suit, combining forces with fellow Anglo-Scot hongs, the Keswicks and William Sutherland Matheson, to form Jardine Matheson. The families launched the Hong Kong Shanghai Bank Corporation (HSBC) after the second Opium War as a repository for their opium proceeds. HSBC, a subsidiary of the London-based HSBC Holdings, today prints 75% of Hong Kong’s currency, while the British Cecil Rhodes-founded Standard Chartered Bank prints the rest. HSBC’s Hong Kong headquarters sits next to a massive Masonic Temple.
Freemasonry is a highly secretive society, making it an ideal vehicle for global drugs and arms trafficking. According to 33rd Degree Mason Manly Hall, “Freemasonry is a fraternity within a fraternity – an outer organization concealing an inner brotherhood of the elect…the one visible and the other invisible. The visible society is a splendid camaraderie of ‘free and accepted’ men enjoined to devote themselves to ethical, educational, fraternal, patriotic and humanitarian concerns. The invisible society is a secret and most august fraternity whose members are dedicated to the service of an arcanum arcandrum (sacred secret).”
The bankrupt Deak & Company’s role in the Hong Kong gold trade was filled by Sharps Pixley Ward, which holds a monopoly over the Hong Kong gold market. Sharps is 49%-owned by the Sharps Pixley subsidiary of British merchant bank Kleinwort Benson and 51%-owned by HSBC. Kleinwort is cozy with the Oppenheimer family’s Rio Tinto, which was founded by the British Matheson family with money generated from opium sales and with help from Schroeder Bank, which also financed Adolph Hitler.
According to a July 13, 2007 article in the Financial Times, Rio Tinto recently bought Alcan to become the world’s largest aluminum producer. In 2010 they set their sights on BHP Billiton in what would be a merger of the world’s two biggest mining companies.
Matheson’s heirs through marriage with the Fraser family are the Keswick family who now run Jardine Matheson, a wide-ranging conglomerate of shipping and industrial interests which also happens to own the Hong Kong Jockey Club, a known venue for drug money laundering. The Swire family controls Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airlines, while the Inchcape family still runs the Peninsular Orient Navigation Company (PONC). J. H. Keswick, J.K. Swire and Sir Mark Turner all served in Britain’s Ministry of Economic Warfare during WWII and are all members of the RIIA, which was founded by Rio Tinto’s first chairman Lord Alfred Milner. These families dominate the board of directors at HSBC.  Current Directors include Lord Inchcape and Henry Neville Lindley Keswick.
The British Bank of the Middle East that dominates the flourishing Dubai gold trade is 100% owned by HSBC. In 1999 HSBC bought Lebanese financier Edmund Safra’s Republic Bank, another major player in world gold markets. HSBC had already purchased the CIA-favorite Marine Midland Bank, which is clearing agent for the government of Panama and owns the Samuel Montagu gold trading firm in London.
The HSBC ruling families have intertwining interests with other international mega-banks, the global gold and diamond trade and the Anglo/Dutch half of the Four Horsemen – Royal Dutch/Shell and BP Amoco.
Lord Armstrong of Ilminster sits on the boards of Royal Dutch/Shell, N. M. Rothschild & Sons, Rio Tinto Zinc and Inchcape, the holding company that controls PONC. Shell director Sir Peter Orr joins Lord Armstrong on Inchape‘s board. Cathay Pacific Airlines owner Sir John Swire is a director at Shell, while Shell director Sir Peter Baxendell joins Lord Armstrong on the board of the Matheson-founded and Oppenheimer-controlled Rio Tinto.  Shell also controls BHP Billiton.
Shanghai Settlements veteran and HSBC insider William Johnston Keswick sits on the board of BP Amoco with PONC’s #2 man Sir Eric Drake, who joins Rio Tinto board member Sir Mark Turner on the board of Kleinwort Benson, which owns 49% of the Sharp’s Pixley Hong Kong gold monopoly. Turner joins David Keswick on the board of HSBC’s Samuel Montagu, one of five firms who gather daily at N. M. Rothschild & Sons in London to “fix” the price of gold.
Jardine Matheson’s current chairman David Newbigging sits on the international advisory board at JP Morgan Chase and is arguably Hong Kong’s most powerful man. The Chairman of Morgan et Cie, the bank’s international division is Lord Cairncatto who also sits on the London Committee of HSBC. Cairncatto is also chairman of Morgan Grenfell, which in 1989 was purchased by Deutsche Bank. Cairncatto sits on the Ruling Council at the London-based Royal Institute for International Affairs- the Crown-controlled foreign policy think tank, whose US affiliate is the Council on Foreign Relations.
Jardine Matheson and PONC also have interlocking directorates and originate from the same Mackay family. Jardine founder James Sutherland Matheson was the son of Katherine Mackay. Mackay is the family name of the Earls of Inchcape. The current Chairman of PONC is Sir Hugh Mackay-Tallack, who is also Deputy Chairman of Standard Chartered Bank. The 3rd Earl of Inchcape J. W. Mackay is a director at Standard Chartered. His predecessor, the 2nd Earl of Inchcape, had advocated opium trafficking in a 1923 PONC annual report.
In 2006, when controversy swirled over the potential sale of US port operations to Dubai firm DP World, virtually no media attention was paid to the current contractor – PONC.
Today the old opium transport firm has split into two parts. P&O NedLloyd, the shipping arm, was bought by AP Meller-Maersk, the massive Danish shipping firm controlled by the billionaire Maersk family. P&O, the port operator arm, was bought in 2006 by DP World. Each arm had controlled part interest in the Port of New York. In 2007 it was announced that its port operations would be sold to insurance giant AIG. The next year AIG went belly up.
HSBC has a big presence in Vancouver, which is on the receiving end of most US-bound Southeast Asian heroin. Canada’s Hudson Bay Company is controlled by P&O NedLloyd and the Keswick family that controls Jardine Matheson. P&O’s #2 man Sir Eric Drake sits on the board at Hudson Bay, while HSBC and Jardine Matheson director Henry Neville Lindley Keswick sits on the board of Canadian paper giant MacMillan Bloedel, which the British Duke of Devonshire controls.
Beginning in the early 1990’s HSBC went on a global shopping spree. In 1994 HSBC formed HongKong Bank Malaysia Berhad. In 1997 it formed Brazilian subsidiary Banco HSBC Bamarindus S.A. and acquired Argentina’s Roberts S.A. de Inversiones. In 1999 it bought Malta’s biggest commercial bank. 
In 2000 it has acquired France’s CCF, Turkey’s Demirbank TES and the Egyptian British Bank. In 2002 it bought Mexico’s Grupo Financiero Bital S.A. de C.V. and Turkey’s Benkar Turketici Finansmani ve Kart Hizmetleri A.S. It took over Bank of Bermuda and acquired stakes in China’s Ping An Insurance, India’s UTI Bank and China’s Bank of Communications. 
By 2003 HSBC was the world’s second largest bank. In November 2003 the bank’s Istanbul, Turkey headquarters was destroyed in a suicide bombing. A separate bombing that same day killed the British consul general.
In 2005 HSBC bought Household International, a dirty Chicago bank which researcher Sherman Skolnick says was incarnated out of the remnants of Australia’s Nugan Hand Bank. 
HSBC has been the world’s biggest drug money laundry for nearly two centuries. Given this egregious history, the Obama Justice Department should have sent a few of its white-glove executives to jail for a long time.
 Hot Money and the Politics of Debt. R.T. Naylor. The Linden Press/Simon & Schuster. New York. 1987. p. 199
 Ibid. p. 323
 Rule by Secrecy: The Hidden History That Connects the Trilateral Commission, the Freemasons and the Great Pyramids. Jim Marrs. HarperCollins. New York. 2000
 Dope Inc.: The Book that Drove Kissinger Crazy. The Editors of Executive Intelligence Review. Washington, DC. 1992. p.114
 Ibid. p.125
 Masonry: Conspiracy Against Christianity. A. Ralph Epperson. Publius Press. Tuscon, AZ. 1997.
 The Editors of Executive Intelligence Review. p.193
 Annual Report. Shell Transport & Trading Company, p.l.c. 1991
Dean Henderson is the author of four books: Big Oil & Their Bankers in the Persian Gulf: Four Horsemen, Eight Families & Their Global Intelligence, Narcotics & Terror Network, The Grateful Unrich: Revolution in 50 Countries, Das Kartell der Federal Reserve & Stickin’ it to the Matrix. You can subscribe free to his weekly Left Hook column @ www.deanhenderson.wordpress.com