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Page last updated at 08:38 GMT, Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Robert Peston: Bank fines astonishingly high

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HSBC has agreed a settlement of $1.9 bn (£1.18 bn) with US authorities over findings that it failed to comply with anti-money laundering laws.

Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver said: "We accept responsibility for our past mistakes, we have said that we are profoundly sorry for them, and we do so again."

The BBC's business editor Robert Peston told the Today programme: "The central weakness at HSBC is that a period in the years before the great crash, it expanded very fast, bought lots of businesses and didn't make sure that there were adequate defences against these sorts of criminal acts.

"My view of HSBC is that they have a pretty strong culture at the centre that wrongdoing won't be tolerated, and they simply did not spread that culture to the new businesses.

"We are seeing astonishingly high costs for banks as they pay the price for their past sins. We're talking about billions in fines and compensation being paid by UK banks, and ultimately that rebounds on shareholders and customers."


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