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HSBC to faceup to $1.5bnin US fines
BANKING giant HSBC will today announce that it is having to putaside another half a billion poundsto pay fines for breaking anti-money laundering regulations. The bank’s lax security controlsfailed to stop drug dealers launder-ing money through the bank’sMexican operations. In July it setaside $700m (£437m) to pay theanticipated fines, but today wasforced to concede the bill could endup closer to $1.5bn, Sky Newsrevealed last night. The industry is already under enor-mous pressure from the paymentprotection insurance (PPI) mis-sellingscandal – the biggest four banks haveset aside more than £10bn to com-pensate customers. HSBC is today expected to announce it has set asideanother £150m, taking its total provi-sions to £1.247bn. Last week Lloydsadded another £1bn to its provisions, while RBS set aside an additional£400m to cover its expected compen-sation bills. The industry also faces a huge raftof claims of interest rate swaps mis-selling from aggrieved small busi-nesses. And many large banks standaccused of manipulating key inter- bank lending rate Libor and are like-ly to follow Barclays, which receiveda £290m fine from the FSA and USregulators in June. On Friday RBSsaid it is gearing up for talks with theFSA to settle claims it entered falsedata in Libor submissions.HSBC said its household and busi-ness lending hit £38.3bn in the firstnine months of 2012, up 11 per centon last year. That is despite refusingto take part in the government’sFunding for Lending scheme, claim-ing its large depositor base providescheaper funds.
President Barack Obama has an advantage of only one per cent over Mitt Romney as the presidential hopefuls enter the last stage of the race
THE RACE to be elected President of the United States has entered its final24 hours, with polls suggesting thatDemocrat incumbent Barack Obamais ahead by the narrowest of margins.Last night Obama and hisRepublican rival Mitt Romney weremid-way through a frantic dash acrosskey states, making dozens of publicappearances in the hope of attractingthe few remaining undecided votersand ensuring their support basesremain fired-up ahead of polling day. The first results from New Hampshire will be announced in theearly hours of Wednesday morning UK time, signalling the beginning of theend of the costliest election in history.One estimate puts the total bill forthis year’s presidential and congres-sional campaigns at $5.8bn (£3.6bn).But despite months of saturationadvertising and vicious personalattacks it is still unclear which man will be leading the world’s biggesteconomy at the end of January 2013. Yesterday a national Reuters/Ipsospoll of 3,805 likely voters found 48 percent said they would vote for Obama, while 47 per cent sided with Romney – within the margin of error. But the USuses an electoral college system, mean-ing the result will be decided by theresults in just a handful of swingstates.Obama is currently slightly ahead inthe key targets of Ohio, Iowa and Virginia – but Romney enjoys a polllead in North Carolina and has been
gaining momentum in recent weeks.Some states appear to be dead heatsand there is no clear leader inFlorida, which accounts for 29 of the538 electoral college votes. As a resultthe race is likely to be won by whichever side is better at makingsure its supporters turn out to votetomorrow.“It’s up to you. You have the power,”Obama told a crowd of more than14,000 people who filled the streets of Concord, New Hampshire. “You will be shaping the decisions for thiscountry for decades to come, rightnow, in the next two days.”Romney, addressing a crowd in theMidwest state of Iowa declared:“Accomplishing real change is not just something that I talk about. It'ssomething that I’ve done. And it’ssomething I’m going to do when I ampresident of the United States.” Those looking for an alternative way of predicting the result haveincreasingly kept an eye on bookmak-ers. Last night betting exchangeBetfair gave Obama a 75 per centchance of winning re-election and yesterday Paddy Power paid out on aDemocrat win. But if the pollsremain so close then results may bechallenged and legal battles over theadmissibility of votes are expected.
BY TIM WALLACE
BY JAMES WATERSON
RACE TO THE FINISH
AS US VOTE LOOMS
ISSUE 1,753 MONDAY 5 NOVEMBER 2012
See The Capitalist, Page 14