HSBC to Pay $1.9B in Money-Laundering Probe

British banking giant was accused of helping cartels
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 10, 2012 4:45 PM CST
HSBC to Pay $1.9B in Money-Laundering Probe
A sign for HSBC bank is seen at a branch in the City of London, Monday, Aug. 3, 2009.   (AP Photo/Sang Tan)

A law enforcement official says HSBC will pay $1.9 billion to settle a money-laundering probe by federal and state authorities into Europe's biggest bank. According to the official, the bank will pay $1.25 billion in forfeiture and pay $655 million in civil penalties. The $1.25 billion figure is the largest forfeiture ever in a case involving a bank. Under what is known as a deferred prosecution agreement, the bank will be accused of violating the Bank Secrecy Act and the Trading With the Enemy Act.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity today because the source was not authorized to speak about the matter on the record. The London-based bank says it is cooperating with investigations but that those discussions are confidential. The settlement—a huge victory for the US government—arose from allegations that the British bank had helped Mexican drug cartels launder money and moved billions for Iran and other countries under sanctions, reports the New York Times. (Read more HSBC stories.)

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