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HSBC reports 11-pct profit rise in first half of 2012

(Xinhua)

08:23, July 31, 2012

LONDON, July 30 (Xinhua) -- HSBC said on Monday that its pre-tax profit was 12.7 billion U.S. dollars in the first half of this year, up by 11 percent year on year.

The bank giant said in its interim results that its underlying profit before tax dropped 3 percent to 10.6 billion dollars, and the revenues went up 4 percent, with particular increases in faster-growing regions of Hong Kong, rest of Asia-Pacific and Latin America.

The bank also announced that it had put aside 2 billion dollars to cover potential mis-selling claims and money-laundering fines.

The London-based lender said it continued to cooperate with authorities after U.S. lawmakers last month accused it of failing to apply anti-laundering rules.

HSBC has been thrown into crisis when a U.S. Senate report found that it had allowed its affiliates in countries such as Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh to move billions of dollars in suspect funds into the United States without adequate controls.

Lawmakers said money laundered through HSBC-linked accounts benefited Mexican drug lords and terrorist networks, and skirted U.S. sanctions on Iran.

HSBC apologized for the crisis which had already sparked the resignation of its head of compliance David Bagley.

"We apologize for our past mistakes in relation to anti-money laundering controls and it is a priority for senior management to build on steps already taken to manage risk and ensure compliance more effectively," Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver said.

"It is not possible at this time for HSBC to know the terms on which a resolution of the ongoing investigations could be achieved or the form or timing of any such resolution," the bank said.

"There is a high degree of uncertainty in making this estimate and it is possible that the amounts when finally determined could be higher, possibly significantly higher," it said.

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