Prosecutors said a multi-year, multi-agency probe into such transactions revealed how HSBC had degenerated into the "preferred financial institution" for drug traffickers and money launderers. And on Tuesday, that culminated in a far-reaching deferred prosecution agreement with HSBC.
An HSBC spokesman declined to discuss specific transactions or clients. But as part of the agreement, the bank acknowledged major lapses in compliance and ignoring red flags. It also acknowledged enabling clients to avoid U.S. sanctions that prohibit dealings with countries such as Iran, Libya, Sudan, Myanmar and Cuba.