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The Boston Globe

Business

Decision not to prosecute HSBC is assailed

$1.9b deal for laundering cash called inadequate

NEW YORK — When the Justice Department last week announced its record $1.9 billion settlement with the British bank HSBC, prosecutors called it a powerful blow to a dysfunctional institution accused of laundering money for Mexico’s murderous drug cartels, Libya, and Iran.

But to some former federal prosecutors, it was only the latest case of the government’s stopping short of bringing criminal money laundering charges against a big bank or its executives, at least in part on the rationale that could cause such banks to fail.

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