The U.S. Justice Department’s stepped up anti-money laundering enforcement against big banks has picked up even more steam this week, and reportedly will be capped by a $1.9 billion settlement the feds have reached with HSBC on money laundering charges over dealings with Iran and Mexican drug cartels, reports the National Law Journal. State and federal prosecutors yesterday announced a $327 million deal with Standard Chartered Bank over transactions with countries subject to U.S. sanctions.
New York lawyer Andrei Rado said the settlements highlight the effort by the Justice Department to step up its anti-money laundering enforcement. “The way to get banks to care about anything is to put money on the line,” Rado said. “To fine a bank $1.9 billion gets their attention. They are giving it to banks where it hurts.” Bank officers often agree to restructure or redouble compliance efforts to help appease enforcement officials, Rado said. HSBC yesterday announced the appointment of Robert Werner to oversee the bank’s global financial crime compliance. Werner is a former head of the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. In another case, ING Bank N.V. of Amsterdam agreed in June to forfeit $619 million for its role in processing billions of dollars in transactions flowing from countries that included Iran and Cuba.