Stuart Gulliver, chief executive, wrote a memo to staff saying he could not reassure regulators the bank did not facilitate the financing of terrorism and other criminal activities, the FT reported.
“Between 2004 and 2010, our anti-money laundering controls should have been stronger and more effective, and we failed to spot and deal with unacceptable behaviour,” Gulliver wrote.
The bank faces the US Senate’s investigative panel on 17 July.
HSBC follows Barclays, which was fined £290m by US and UK regulators for the manipulating of LIBOR, and RBS is reportedly facing a fine of £1.5bn if its traders are found to have carried out similar wrongdoing.
ING, the Dutch bank, agreed to settle $619m with US authorities following accusations it was helping Iranian and Cuban companies move substantial sums through the US financial system.
Barclays, Credit Suisse and Lloyds have all been fined by the US in the past for breaches relating to money laundering breaches.