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Since December 2012, when HSBC Holdings PLC reached a then record-setting $1.9 billion settlement, U.S. regulators have been flexing their anti-money laundering (AML) enforcement muscles. Just over a year later, JPMorgan gained the dubious distinction of breaking HSBC’s record, when it settled allegations of AML violations for more than $2 billion. On June 30, 2014, U.S. regulators struck again, when they reached an $8.9 billion settlement with BNP Paribas, France’s largest bank. As part of the settlement, BNP Paribas admitted to violating U.S. sanctions and money-laundering regulations by engaging in transactions for Sudan, Iran and Cuba. The message from U.S. regulators could not be clearer: They are committed to stronger and more aggressive enforcement of the AML laws.

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