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HSBC Says U.S. Money-Laundering Enforcement Measures ‘Likely’

HSBC Holdings Plc, Europe’s largest bank, said U.S. prosecutors are likely to take criminal or civil enforcement measures involving the bank amid a money laundering probe.

The bank has been sent subpoenas and other requests for information by U.S. agencies including the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations relating to the Bank Secrecy Act, London-based HSBC said in a filing today.

“It is likely that there will be some form of formal enforcement action, which may be criminal or civil in nature, in respect of some or all of the ongoing investigations,” HSBC said in the filing.

HSBC North America Holdings Inc. and a subsidiary, HSBC Bank USA, reached agreements in 2010 with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve Board to make changes to comply with the Bank Secrecy Act, a U.S. law that combats money laundering. The bank in November said “it is likely there could be some form of formal enforcement.”

“The change in disclosure reflects the fact that some form of formal enforcement action is likely,” London-based spokesman Brendan McNamara said by phone today. “We take compliance matters extremely seriously.”

The bank said on Jan. 25 it would cooperate with the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations probe and repeated its support of efforts to combat money laundering.

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