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Finance

HSBC settles in US money laundering probe

HSBC has agreed to pay $1.92 billion to settle a US money laundering probe. The British bank is alleged to have allowed clients with links to drug trafficking and terrorism to move money.

The two sides reached a $1.92 billion (1.48 billion euros) settlement Tuesday, HSBC said.

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

The settlement includes a five-year deferred prosecution agreement with the US Justice Department, which allows a subject under investigation to avoid prosecution if it meets conditions, such as paying fines.

Prosecutors had accused HSBC of allowing improper financial transfers from countries including Mexico, Iran and Saudi Arabia by clients linked to international crime, including drug trafficking and terrorism.

The bank apologized soon after, and acknowledged the firm lacked controls to prevent money laundering. 

'Profoundly sorry'

"We accept responsibility for our past mistakes. We have said we are profoundly sorry for them, and we do so again," said group chief executive Stuart Gulliver in a statement.

"We are committed to protecting the integrity of the global financial system. To this end we will continue to work closely with governments and regulators around the world," Gulliver said.

HSBC's announcement comes one day after another British bank, Standard Chartered, agreed to pay some $327 million (253 million euros) to settle charges it violated US sanctions by channelling money to clients in Iran and Sudan.

dr/msh (AFP, dpa, AP)