The chief of HSBC admitted to money-laundering activities on which WND reported in February and promised that steps already taken should address the “shameful, embarrassing and very painful” failure.

According to the Financial Times, HSBC Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver said the bank was taking a $700 million charge to cover the cost of fines.

The expected fines are among many reasons the company’s profits were down 3 percent during the first half of 2012, analysts found.

Gulliver told the Financial Times the firm “clearly lost its way.”

“But we have changed,” he said. “It is a priority for senior management to build on steps already taken to manage risk and ensure compliance more effectively.”

He also told FT that the $700 million was not a final figure, and, depending on the circumstances, the costs could end up being “significantly higher.”

The U.S. Senate released information earlier this month about the bank’s money- laundering for Mexican drug cartels, which has seriously damaged the organization’s reputation.

WND reported early this year that a whistleblower, a former HSBC employee, turned over 1,000 pages of customer account records he said were evidence of an international money-laundering scheme.

John Cruz alleged hundreds of millions of dollars were involved.

One of the largest banks in the world, London-based HSBC has about 7,500 offices in more than 80 countries and territories in Europe, North and South America, the Asia-Pacific region, the Middle East and Africa.

According to documentation Cruz obtained, customer account records suggested identity theft was used to capture legitimate Social Security numbers, and then bogus retail and commercial bank accounts were created. Through those HSBC employees could deposit and withdraw hundreds of millions of dollars on a daily basis.

Cruz cited the case of an account allegedly for a small insurance company, but the phone number turned out to be disconnected and the tax ID number corresponded with another HSBC customer who recently had closed his account.

Recently, WND reported that the Internal Revenue Service was acknowledging receipt of a whistleblower claim from Cruz.

recent Senate report presented evidence HSBC abetted massive money laundering by Iran, terrorist organizations, drug cartels and organized criminals throughout the world. The report said HSBC transferred $19 billion for Iran and $7 billion in physical cash for Mexico.

WND’s series of articles on HSBC also caused fallout for WND senior reporter Jerome Corsi and for WND, which saw one of the articles temporarily blocked when HSBC filed a complaint with an Internet provider that turned out to be unwarranted.

Previous stories:

Scandal-plagued HSBC shopped Congress for favors

IRS examining claim of HSBC whistleblower

Massive fraud ignored … until this happened

Banking giant HSBC ‘a criminal enterprise’

Whistleblower explains ABCs of money laundering

Look who ‘has stolen IDs, fake tax returns’

Investment firm fires WND reporter for exposing scandal

Big bank retaliates against WND for exposé

PayPal, American Express implicated in bank fraud

See big bank money-laundering evidence

Banking giant accused of laundering billions

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