HSBC To Pay $1.9 Billion Fine To Settle Money-Laundering Probe [Report]

HSBC will likely pay a $1.9 billion fine in a deferred prosecution agreement that will settle the US probe that revealed money laundering tied to the bank.

The report, made by a person familiar with the matter, would make for the largest charge of its kind ever, reports Bloomberg.

HSBC’s top executives were accused of oversight by a US Senate subcommittee in July. They will forfeit 1.25 billion, according to another person familiar with the matter — the largest forfeiture ever made by a bank. The company will also pay another $655 million in civil penalties.

The sum is not a massive amount for HSBC, which is Europe’s largest bank. The deferred prosecution agreement to pay $1.9 billion will allow HSBC to avoid charges by meeting certain conditions. Those conditions include paying fines and penalties and committing to make specific reforms.

The reforms are usually either overseen by a monitor or through the creation of an internal compliance panel. Yahoo! Finance notes that the London-based bank has been cooperating with investigations, but has not released information about the discussions. A law enforcement official stated, however, that news of the reported deal, and the massive fine to be paid by HSBC could be confirmed as early as Tuesday.

The money laundering accusations come after a US Senate investigative committee reported that the bank’s Mexican branches sent about $7 billion in cash to the United States in 2007 and 2008. That money reportedly indicated illegal drug proceeds. The US law enforcement has been working to crack down on money laundering by banks.

Credit Suisse, Barclays, and Lloyds have all been in a similar position to HSBC, as they have all paid settlements related to money laundering allegations to the US since 2009. The Senate investigation into HSBC last year uncovered that the bank’s lax controls lead to money laundering and terrorist financing.

Do you think that HSBC’s reported $1.9 billion fine is enough for a money laundering charge, or should they be subject to further punishment?