Last week, Standard Chartered and HSBC both agreed to settlements with American regulators over money-laundering allegations. Standard Chartered agreed to pay a fine of $327m, in addition to an earlier $340m penalty; whilst HSBC stumped up a record breaking $1.9 billion.
Both banks signed statements acknowledging their facilitation of illicit financial transfers on behalf of Iran, Sudan, Myanmar and Libya, however HSBC was also criticized for its relationships with Cuba and most significantly, with Mexican and Colombian drug cartels. Each party agreed to abide by conditions, such as monitoring of their compliance processes, during a period of supervised probation.
There have been criticisms that the settlements were too small, whilst some have criticised the complete opposite. However, the agreements put an end to uncertainty over the banks’ ability to operate within America, a key link in their global networks; as both their share prices rose on the day the fines were announced.