Justice Department Tells Banks Money Laundering Doesn’t Pay

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MoneyThe United States Department of Justice does not believe that Wall Street banks have devoted enough time and resources to ensuring the proper anti-money-laundering controls are in place. As a top official told The Wall Street Journal, the department has planned additional enforcement actions against institutions that have not done enough to prevent the passage of illegal funds into the U.S. financial system.

Several high-profile settlements have been inked in recent years; in December 2012, HSBC (NYSE:HSBC) settled allegations that it transferred billions of dollars of illicit funds for sanctioned nations like Iran and enabled Mexican drug cartels to move money illegally with a penalty of $1.9 billion. Dutch bank ING (NYSE:ING) settled its own money laundering charges with a $619 million fine in June of 2012; Lloyds (NYSE:LYG) reached an agreement with the Manhattan district attorney’s office and the Justice Department in January 2009 to pay $350 million in fines for accepting funds from Iranian and Sudanese clients; U.S. regulators fined Credit Suisse (NYSE:CS) $536 million in December 2009; and Barclays (NYSE:BCS) agreed to pay $298 million to settle charges that it accepted client payments from Cuba, Sudan, and other countries under U.S. sanctions.

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