Saying that "we accept responsibility for our past mistakes," the chief executive of Britain's HSBC has confirmed that the banking giant will pay a record $1.9 billion to settle charges related to a money laundering scheme in the U.S.
"We have said we are profoundly sorry for them, and we do so again," HSBC Group Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver says in a statement released Tuesday morning. "The HSBC of today is a fundamentally different organization from the one that made those mistakes."
As The Associated Press writes, "the probe of the bank — Europe's largest by market value — has focused on the transfer of billions of dollars on behalf of nations like Iran, which are under international sanctions, and the transfer of money through the U.S. financial system from Mexican drug cartels."
The Wall Street Journal adds that HSBC expects to announce "a similar agreement with U.K. authorities soon." The Journal reports that:
"Many of the HSBC money-laundering problems centered on bulk-cash, U.S. dollar transactions between HSBC's Mexico and U.S. units. The transactions were detailed in a U.S. Senate investigative report published this past summer.
"The report by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations detailed a regulatory culture at HSBC that shocked even its own employees, according to testimony provided to the committee and at a hearing."
NPR's Jim Zarroli added on Morning Edition that "HSBC is not the only foreign bank to be accused of money laundering" in recent months. Monday, Britain's Standard Chartered "agreed to pay $327 million to settle charges that it helped Iran and other countries evade U.S. sanctions."