HSBC Pays $1.92B In Money Laundering Settlement

HSBC headquarters in London

London banking giant HSBC settled a money-laundering case with U.S. state and federal authorities on Tuesday, agreeing to pay a record US$1.92 billion instead of going through a trial that threatened the world economy.

The British-based bank was accused of transferring billions of dollars for nations like Iran and enabling Mexican drug cartels to move money to their American subsidiaries.

HSBC is also expected to reach a settlement over the matter with Britain’s Financial Services Authority, reports the New York Times.

Some with the U.S. Department of Justice wanted HSBC to plead guilty to the money laundering charges as part of the settlement, but concerns that it would destroy the bank’s ability to operate and cause a similar economic meltdown to that of 2008 pushed those elements aside.

Tuesday’s settlement is the latest in a long list of victories for a money-laundering task force created by the Justice Department in 2010. Before the HSBC agreement, the task force has collected more than US$2 billion from banks. Six foreign banks have been caught in recent years, including Credit Suisse and Barclays.

Another British based bank, Standard Chartered, made a similar arrangement made last August after it was charged with laundering money for Iran. The 150-year old banking institution paid out US$327 million to federal authorities on Monday.

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