HSBC to pay U.S. penalty of $1.9 billion
American authorities on Tuesday cited “astonishing” dysfunction at the British bank HSBC and said it had helped Mexican drug traffickers, Iran, Libya and others under U.S. suspicion or sanction to move money around the world.
HSBC agreed to pay $1.9 billion, the largest penalty ever imposed on a bank.
The U.S. stopped short of charging executives, citing the bank’s immediate, full cooperation and damage an assault on the company might cause on economies and thousands who would lose jobs if the bank collapsed.
Outside experts said it was evidence that a doctrine of “too big to fail,” or at least “too big to prosecute,” was alive and well four years after the ffinancial crisis.
The settlement avoided a legal battle that could further savage the bank’s reputation and undermine conffidence in the banking system.