London-based bank HSBC said Monday it is among a number of firms being investigated by U.S. authorities over the hiring of people connected to Asian governments, raising the risk of more expensive legal issues.
Europe’s biggest bank announced a $1.3 billion loss for the final quarter, compared with a $511 million profit in the same period the previous year. For the year, net profit was $13.5 billion for 2015, down 1.2 percent and below analysts’ forecasts.
In the report, the bank warned it is being investigated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over the hiring of people referred by or related to government officials or employees at state-owned companies in Asia. The regulator is reportedly scrutinizing global investment banks to see if they violated bribery laws by hiring relatives of well-connected officials or company executives at Chinese companies, known as princelings, to give them an advantage in winning deals.
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