HSBC prosecution threat in United States lifted

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In a deferred prosecution agreement a prosecutor grants an amnesty in exchange for the defendant agreeing to fulfil certain requirements, often including the payment of a fine and a pledge to avoid further bad behaviour.

USA authorities today announced they will dismiss deferred money laundering charges against HSBC, removing a cloud which has been hanging over the banking giant for the past five years.

A consumer advocacy organization lamented the "travesty of justice" on Monday after HSBC said that it no longer had to worry about the possibility of criminal charges for laundering hundreds of millions of dollars in drug cartel money and violating other federal laws since the bank's deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) with the Department of Justice expired.

Following the United States probe, HSBC admitted having poor money laundering controls and apologised.

"HSBC lived up to all of its commitments, and, therefore, under the DPA, the Department of Justice will file a motion with the US District Court for the Eastern District of NY seeking the dismissal of the charges deferred by the agreement", the banking giant said in a statement released Monday.

The bank paid authorities in the USA more than $1.9 billion in a settlement.

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Authorities brought the DPA to avoid any prosecution which if it led to an indictment, would have meant the government of the US could not conduct business with the bank any longer.

The DPA also arranged for the appointment of an independent compliance monitor who will make annual assessments of the effectiveness of the group's anti-money laundering and sanctions compliance programme under the direction of UK'S Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

HSBC said the monitor will continue in the role "for a period of time" at the discretion of the UK's City regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority.

CEO Stuart Gulliver told the media that HSBC can fight financial crime far more effectively today due to the significant number of reforms implemented over the past five years.

He ended by saying what the bank established in this area with governments will remain one of its top priorities into 2018 and will beyond.

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