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HSBC In $1.9 Billion U.S. Money-Laundering Settlement

Banking giant HSBC has agreed to pay $1.9 billion to settle money-laundering charges.

U.S. investigators had been probing the British-based bank -- one of the five biggest in the world -- over allegations it transferred billions of dollars for Iran, despite international sanctions, and transferred money from Mexican drug cartels through the U.S. financial system to legitimize the funds.

In a statement, group chief executive Stuart Gulliver said, "We accept responsibility for our past mistakes."

He added that the bank would "continue to work closely with governments and regulators around the world."

The news follows the announcement of a similar settlement with another British-based bank, Standard Chartered, which will pay more than $300 million in fines for violating U.S. sanctions.

Reports by the Associated Press and "The Wall Street Journal" say HSBC would forfeit more than $1.2 billion under a deferred prosecution arrangement and also pay penalties of more than $650 million.

Under the deferred prosecution arrangement, HSBC would admit to wrongdoing but would not be persecuted further if it meets conditions.

An official announcement is expected as early as December 11.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP