HSBC shares rise in Hong Kong despite 'record fine'

AFP News
HSBC has apologised for failing to apply US anti-laundering rules, and a senior executive has resigned
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File photo shows people using ATM machines at the HSBC headquarters in Hong Kong. In early November HSBC said it had set aside $1.5 billion for fines linked to money-laundering in the United States

Shares in HSBC rose Tuesday despite a report the bank would pay a record $1.9 billion fine to settle money laundering charges, while Standard Chartered also climbed after paying a massive fine.

Hong Kong-listed HSBC climbed 0.38 percent to HK$79.75 in early trade.

Standard Chartered, also listed on the Hong Kong exchange, was 0.70 percent higher at HK$186.00 after it paid US authorities $327 million to settle charges it violated US sanctions on Iran and Myanmar.

The benchmark Hang Seng Index was flat.

Citing people familiar with the matter, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday that the settlement between HSBC and US authorities could be announced as early as Tuesday in New York.

The Journal said the figure includes nearly $1.3 billion, a record amount for a bank, as part of a deferred prosecution agreement. The London-based bank would also pay a civil fine of more than $650 million.

US lawmakers have accused the Asia-focused bank of giving Iran, terrorists and drug dealers access to the US financial system. HSBC in July admitted to poor anti-laundering controls.

The US Treasury announced the fine for Standard Chartered Monday to settle charges it violated US sanctions on Iran as well as on Myanmar, Libya and Sudan.

The fines from the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and other US federal and local regulators took to $667 million the total the bank has been charged for sanctions violations.

The New York state banking watchdog fined the bank $340 million in August in the same investigation, saying it hid 60,000 transactions with proscribed Iranian clients worth $250 billion over 10 years.

US authorities have been pushing harder on the banking sector to fall in line with its sanctions especially on Iran in order to raise the economic pressure on Tehran to halt its alleged push to develop nuclear weapons.