“The BBC’s chairman-elect is being sued over her involvement in the HSBC money-laundering scandal, it was revealed yesterday.
Rona Fairhead, who is set to become the first woman to lead the corporation, had her appointment approved by MPs yesterday.
But hours after the Commons hearing it emerged the 53-year-old is facing a class action lawsuit by HSBC shareholders over allegations the bank allowed terrorists and Mexican drug cartels to launder money.
Mrs Fairhead chaired the bank’s ‘risk committee’ in 2012, when it was fined £1.2billion by US authorities to settle allegations that it allowed drug traffickers to launder millions of pounds.
The bank was also accused of breaching sanctions against Cuba, Iran, Libya, Burma and Zimbabwe.
Michael Mason-Mahon, an HSBC shareholder who filed the case in a New York court on May 7, said it would be an ‘obscene joke’ to appoint Mrs Fairhead to head the BBC given her senior role at the bank.
He wants the US courts to force her and 88 other directors to repay the fines the bank incurred over the scandal.
He said: ‘Mrs Fairhead’s credentials are great, as long as you ignore what she’s done at HSBC for the past ten years.””