Europe's largest bank by market capitalization, HSBC, may pay a fine of 1.1bn pounds(1.8bn dollars) in the US to settle charges from US law enforcement authorities that it permitted money-laundering, Reuters reported on Thursday morning citing several people familiar with the matter.
The accord may be signed as soon as next week, the news agency said.
The international lender had already set aside 932m pounds in funds so as to cover against such possible charges - and others - in Mexico. The bank had also warned that any such costs could conceivably turn out to be much higher.
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In other similar cases institutions have reached so-called delayed prosecution agreements. Those see the accused be given a sort of second chance. US federal law-enforcement agencies delay or forgo prosecuting a company if it admits to wrongdoing, pays a fine and agrees to clean up its compliance systems.
Nevertheless, the possibility apparently existed that criminal charges would be brought to bear should it have been decided that sending a more powerful 'signal' to bank would be convenient.
As an aside, on Thursday morning the Financial Times (FT) was bandying about the possibility of a similar sized fine - and for the same concept - for Deutsche Bank.
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