World / Europe

HSBC to pay $1.92b to settle money-laundering probe

(Xinhua) Updated: 2012-12-12 02:29

LONDON - London-based banking giant HSBC has agreed to pay a total of 1.92 billion U.S. dollars to settle a US money-laundering probe, the bank said Tuesday.

"HSBC has reached agreement with US authorities in relation to investigations regarding inadequate compliance with anti-money laundering and sanctions laws," the bank said in a statement.

"This includes a deferred prosecution agreement with the US Department of Justice," it said.

HSBC, the largest bank by market value in Europe, was accused by US authorities of giving Iran, terrorists and drug dealers access to the country's financial system.

A US Senate investigation report found the HSBC had allowed its affiliates in Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh to move billions of dollars in suspect funds into the United States without adequate controls.

"Under these agreements, HSBC will make payments totalling 1.921 billion U.S. dollars, continue to cooperate fully with regulatory and law enforcement authorities, and take further action to strengthen its compliance policies and procedures," the bank said in the statement.

The bank admitted to having "inadequate" controls in place, accepted responsibility for the group's past mistakes and added that it would finalize a deal soon with Britain's Financial Services Authority watchdog.

In the past several years, the Board of HSBC has taken decisive action to direct management to fix past shortcomings as they have come to light, it said.

"Management has made significant strides in improving 'tone from the top' and ensuring that a culture of compliance permeates the institution," it said.

The HSBC made pre-tax profits of 12.7 billion dollars for the first six months of this year, with operations in about 80 countries and regions.

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