HSBC Holdings plc confirmed Wednesday (25 January 2012) that it was under investigation by a U.S. Senate panel in connection with money laundering. It had disclosed in a company filing in 9 November 2011 that it was talking to the US regulators regarding a number of regulatory and compliance matters.

The inquiry is being conducted by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. The bank could face A Congressional hearing later this spring. The scrutiny on the bank is the latest in a series of investigations by US officials of  how banks have processed or intentionally hidden transactions on behalf of countries which allegedly support terrorism, corrupt foreign officials, drug gangs and other criminals.

In 2003, HSBC  appointed Teresa Pesce , chief of money-laundering prosecutions at the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan, as an executive vice president for overseeing the bank’s efforts in the U.S. to combat money laundering.