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HSBC fears criminal charges for rule breaches

Nov 05 2012 Steve Slater, Reuters

A U.S. fine for anti-money laundering rule breaches could cost HSBC significantly more than $1.5 billion and is likely to lead to criminal charges, Europe's biggest bank said on Monday. HSBC said the U.S. investigation had caused "considerable reputational damage" and had forced it to set aside a further $800 million to cover a potential fine to cover breaches in anti-money laundering controls in Mexico, adding to $700 million put aside in July. "It could be significantly higher," Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver told reporters on a conference call, saying the latest provision was based on discussions with the various U.S. authorities involved in the probe. The timing of any settlement is in the hands of regulators. "The resolution of at least some of these matters is likely to involve the filing of corporate criminal as well as civil charges and the imposition of significant fines, penalties and/or monetary forfeitures," the bank said in its results.

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