HSBC bank announced Tuesday that it had fired six employees who posted a video of themselves staging a mock Islamic State-style beheading video during a company team-building day, British media reported.
In the video, five men dressed in black and wearing balaclavas over their heads stand behind a colleague wearing an orange jumpsuit, the hallmark of the jihadi group’s execution videos.
As the “victim” kneels on the ground, one of the mock executioners raises a coat hanger — doubling as a knife — over his head while another colleague holds the victim’s shoulders down as if making to behead him.
One banker calls out “Allahu akbar” while another ululates in the high-pitched style of Arab women at celebrations, prompting chuckles from his colleagues.
An HSBC spokesman called the video “abhorrent.”
“We took the decision to sack the individuals involved,” the spokesman told Britain's Guardian newspaper. “This is an abhorrent video and HSBC would like to apologize for any offense caused.”
An unnamed source at the bank told the U.K. newspaper the Sun, “It’s shocking they would think this is funny.”
The Sun reported that the group posted the gag on Instagram and later removed it, but not before it was seen by colleagues. The Sun later posted it online.
The Sun reported that the man in the orange jumpsuit is named Saf Ahmed.
Various British media outlets made note of the fact that British aid workers Alan Henning and David Haines were wearing orange jumpsuits in the video released of their beheading by Islamic State militants.
A 2012 U.S. Senate report found that HSBC’s lax oversight allowed terrorists and Mexican drug smugglers to launder their money in the U.S.
Last month, the bank agreed to pay a record £28 million, or $43.5 million, to Swiss authorities to close their investigation of “suspected aggravated money laundering” at its Swiss subsidiary.
The Guardian reported that the settlement meant that HSBC would not be prosecuted in Switzerland, nor would investigation findings be published.