Pan Macmillan has pre-empted a “jaw-dropping” account of the HSBC Mexican drug cartel scandal by journalist Chris Blackhurst.
Robin Harvie, former non-fiction publisher, pre-empted world rights to one book by Blackhurst from Charlie Viney at the Viney Agency. Pan Macmillan will publish Too Big to Jail: Inside HSBC, the Mexican Drug Cartels and the Greatest Banking Scandal of the Century in hardback, e-book and audio in June 2022.
The publisher said: “HSBC is one of the biggest banks in the world with over 40 million customers. In the first decade of the 21st Century those customers included El Chapo and the Sinaloa cartel, one of the most notorious criminal organisations in the world. Too Big to Jail tells the extraordinary story of how HSBC became the Mexican drug cartel’s bank of choice.
“Beginning in Hong Kong and travelling across London, Washington, the Cayman Islands and Mexico, where HSBC saw the opportunity to become the largest bank in the world, El Chapo seized the chance to fuel his murderous empire by laundering his drug proceeds through the bank. For its role in the affair HSBC received a record $1.9bn fine from authorities in the US, but crucially not a single person went to prison. Too Big to Jail brings together an extraordinary cast of politicians, bankers, drug dealers, FBI officers and whistle-blowers to tell the story, and asks the age-old question; what price does greed have?”
Pan publisher Lucy Hale said the book “tells one of the most important and scandalous stories of recent years, full of jaw-dropping revelations”. She added: “Chris has had a hugely impressive career as a journalist and I am thrilled that we will be publishing his first book.”
Blackhurst is an award-winning business writer and commentator. He is a former editor of the Independent and for 10 years was City editor of the Evening Standard. Before that he worked for the Sunday Times on its business pages and insight investigative team.
He said: “HSBC and Chapo are two businesses that wanted to be the biggest in the world, one a bank and the other a drugs cartel. It’s about ambition and greed. Just as no senior banker was prosecuted over the disaster of 2008, HSBC was only fined for helping Chapo to launder his billions. I knew about the US fine but I wanted to know how.”