More than $2 billion is set to be handed over to US regulators by two major European banks in the coming days, it has emerged.
Standard Chartered and HSBC are among the financiers under investigation for breaking anti-money laundering law in America and both lenders are close to agreeing fines with bodies across the Atlantic, the Independent reports.
Federal officials have stepped up the strictness level of their investigations into such instances of flouting regulations and some analysts believe banks will not be deterred from such illicit practices until they are threatened with legal action.
For instance, James Gurule, an ex-undersecretary of enforcement for the Treasury, observed: "Until bank officials that knowingly violate anti-money-laundering laws are held criminally liable, we're not going to see rigorous compliance with federal regulations."
Standard Chartered revealed yesterday (6 December) it is expecting to pay penalties totalling around $330 million, while HSBC is supposedly facing a fine of $1.8 billion for its links to drug trafficking and terrorism.
By Tony Aynsley