The size and scope of HSBC's record-setting $1.92 billion penalty to federal regulators for a slew of anti-money laundering problems surprised many in the financial industry, who warned it could set a new precedent for targeting other institutions.

The British bank (HBC) agreed Tuesday to pay several amounts to various U.S. regulators for a total that will be the largest corporate penance thus far for inadequate compliance with anti-money laundering laws.

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