HSBC has had its $1.9 billion settlement with the US government over charges that it ignored rules put in place to stop money-laundering approved by a federal judge.
Reuters reports that US District Judge John Gleeson in Brooklyn, New York cited "heavy public criticism" of the settlement, but said the decision was "easy, for it accomplishes a great deal."
The settlement, which was announced on 11 December 2012, included a $1.26 billion forfeiture and $665 million in civil fines. It has now resolved charges accusing the UK-based bank of having degenerated into a "preferred financial institution" for Central and South American drug cartels and money launderers.
HSBC spokesman Rob Sherman said the company has taken extensive steps to help put a stop to financial crime since 2011.
The settlement is the largest US penalty against a bank, beating the former record of $780 million imposed against Swiss institution UBS AG in 2009 for aiding tax evasion.
By Claire Archer