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HSBC to pay nearly $2bn in US money-laundering case

Published 12/12/2012

Hsbc will pay $1.9bn (£1.2bn) to settle a money-laundering probe by federal and state authorities in the United States, a law enforcement official has said.

The probe into the British-based banking giant - Europe's largest by market value - has focused on the transfer of billions of dollars on behalf of nations like Iran, which are under international sanctions, and the transfer of money through the US financial system from Mexican drug cartels.

According to the official, HSBC will pay $1.25bn dollars (£777m) in forfeiture and $655m (£407m) in civil penalties. The $1.25bn dollar figure is the largest forfeiture ever in a case involving a bank.

Under what is known as a deferred prosecution agreement, the financial institution will be accused of violating the Bank Secrecy Act and the Trading With the Enemy Act.

Under the deferred prosecution arrangement, HSBC will admit to certain misconduct, the official said.

The deferred prosecution agreement means the bank will not be prosecuted further if it meets certain conditions, such as strengthening its internal controls to prevent money laundering.

The London-based bank said it is co-operating with investigations but that those discussions are confidential.

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