HSBC to apologise for laundering errors

HSBC, Europe's biggest bank, is to apologise to a US Senate hearing next week over less-than-effective anti-money laundering controls.

The bank could also face a "hefty fine" from the Department of Justice, according to one analyst.

An internal memo from the chief executive, Stuart Gulliver, states: "We failed to spot and deal with unacceptable behaviour."

This comes a fortnight after Barclays was fined a record £290m for attempting to rig Libor rates. HSBC says that it is co-operating with Libor inquiries around the globe, but that it is not being investigated.

"It is right that we are held accountable and that we take responsibility for fixing what went wrong," said Mr Gulliver.

The title of next Tuesday's hearing is "Vulnerabilities to Money Laundering, Drugs, and Terrorist Financing: HSBC Case History."

Mr Gulliver is not expected to be giving evidence.

In his memo, he refers to what happened at HSBC between 2004 and 2010. Senators are likely to ask the bank why it took so long to fix the problems which they first brought to its attention in 2003.

HSBC said it had doubled the amount it spends on compliance since 2010 and created a single global compliance function.

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