``The whispers were out there last week, now it's official: HSBC has admitted it ignored signs of money laundering for years and agreed to pay a record $1.9 billion in a settlement with U.S. authorities. (Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, New York Times.) Fellow British bank Standard Chartered agreed to a $327 million settlement for violating U.S. sanctions against Iran, Libya and other nations (Journal, New York Times), bringing its total fines in this matter to $667 million. Crain's New York Business says the latest StanChart settlement vindicates Benjamin Lawsky, the New York financial regulator who was accused of going rogue when he went after the bank this past summer. The FT's "Lex" column finds the penalties paid by HSBC and StanChart unimpressive -- a "rap on the knuckles." ''

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