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Argentina slaps $6 mn fine on HSBC subsidiary

BUENOS AIRES (AFP)— Argentina slapped a 30 million peso ($6 million) fine on a local subsidiary of global banking giant HSBC for failing to report suspicious transactions, authorities said.

Justice officials said that the fine had been levied against HSBC Bank Argentina SA for failing to disclose a three million dollar transaction by a bread bakers' association, in what regulatory officials said was a clear-cut case of money laundering.

Officials said the sum should have raised red flags at HSBC, given the group's relatively modest "profile."

"The amount of transactions investigated was a 5800 percent higher than the amount of total income declared by the association for the years 2005 to 2006," the agency.

Just last week, officials in the United State found that HSBC's parent flouted US sanctions on Iran and other countries and laundered Mexican drug money to build its business, and hit it with a massive $1.92 billion in fines.

US authorities said the British bank's internal controls were "knowingly and willfully" lax, and that it have enabled forbidden financial transactions with Iran, Libya, Sudan, Cuba and Myanmar from the 1990s through 2006.

The company's Mexico branch also freely allowed hundreds of millions of dollars to be laundered through HSBC by drug groups, the US Justice Department said.