HSBC pays record fine to settle US money-laundering accusations
Top executives to defer part of bonuses for five years as bank prepares to pay $1.9bn over claims it moved drug money
HSBC is to pay a record $1.9bn (£1.2bn) to settle allegations that it laundered money for drug cartels and broke sanctions in the US to allow terrorists to move money around the financial system.
In the latest embarrassment for Britain's banks, the HSBC chief executive, Stuart Gulliver, said he was "profoundly sorry" as he confirmed the scale of the fine. It is the largest ever for such an offence and even greater than the £940m the bank had feared it faced after the allegations first surfaced in the summer in a report by the US Senate.
The US Senate said the bank had operated a "pervasively polluted" culture that lasted for years, allowing HSBC to move billions around the financial system for Mexican drug lords, terrorists and governments on sanctions lists. HSBC's Mexican operations moved $7bn into the US operations, for instance, which the Senate was told was tied to drug money.