Not long ago, U.S. settlements in the hundreds of millions of dollars for violations of American law by a foreign bank seemed unlikely, if not out of the realm of possibility altogether. Then came the $780 million deferred prosecution agreement with UBS AG in 2009.
The axe may be falling on up to 50,000 positions at HSBC Holdings Plc but at least one department seems sheltered from the cost-cutting measures: the bank's compliance team.
Following last month's reports that HSBC's Swiss private bank served thousands of possible tax cheats, the U.K. government outlined plans Thursday to target tax evaders and those who assist them.
Facing parliamentary criticism, HSBC's top executives conceded Wednesday to "unacceptable" failures of its Swiss private banking unit that led to likely account abuses and subsequent reputational damage.
The U.K. is considering a money laundering investigation of HSBC's Swiss operations in light of recent allegations that the bank maintained accounts for financial criminals, a British official said Wednesday.
London-based HSBC Holdings Plc could find itself paying more to rectify past compliance problems following disclosures this week about the bank's services for clients with criminal ties, according to analysts.
Criticisms of the U.S. Justice Department's apparent decision to forego indictments of HSBC and its employees misses a larger point: the department probably couldn't have won convictions if it tried, say prosecutors.
The U.S. government's landmark case against HSBC Holdings Plc for knowingly turning a blind eye to financial crime is seemingly fated to end much as it began: complex and messy.
HSBC Holdings Plc could pay as much as $1 billion for Bank Secrecy Act and U.S. sanctions violations, an amount that would overshadow previous fines for similar infractions, say sources.
The U.S. Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve issued separate enforcement actions Thursday against HSBC North America Holdings Inc. for systemic Bank Secrecy Act compliance violations.
A U.S. Justice Department criminal investigation of HSBC Holdings Plc clients suspected of tax evasion may prove easier to prosecute than its case against UBS AG accountholders, say tax attorneys.