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19 December 2017

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HSBC no longer faces prosecution in the US over allegations it laundered Mexican drug money.

In 2012, the bank reached a deferred prosecution agreement with US authorities, which saw it avoid facing criminal charges on the condition that it met certain commitments to prevent future wrongdoing.

HSBC says that the DPA has now expired and that it has met all of its commitments under it. It added that the US Department of Justice is now filing a court motion to have the charges against HSBC dropped.

Under the DPA, HSBC paid US authorities a record £1.42 billion settlement. The DPA also involved the appointment of an independent compliance monitor, who produced annual assessments of HSBC’s anti-money laundering measures.

HSBC Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver said: "HSBC is able to combat financial crime much more effectively today as the result of the significant reforms we have implemented over the last five years.

"We are committed to doing our part to protect the integrity of the global financial system."

There is no doubt that HSBC has paid the price for its failings. But the price could have been far higher if it had not obtained a DPA.

Its negotiations with the US authorities led to it obtaining the DPA and avoiding a criminal prosecution that could have been hugely damaging to its future prospects.

The fact that the bank is still functioning and conviction free is a clear indicator of the value of obtaining a DPA as an alternative to prosecution.

Read our article: OBTAINING A DPA

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