HSBC to Pay $1.9B Fine Over Money Laundering: Hot Trends

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Popular searches on the Internet include HSBC ( HBC) as the British bank has agreed to pay more than $1.9 billion to the U.S. over money laundering allegations.

The amount marks the largest penalty ever paid by a bank. An investigation into the bank focused on the transfer of funds through the U.S. financial system from nations like Iran that are under international sanctions and groups like Mexican drug cartels. As part of the agreement, HSBC will reportedly admit to certain misconduct, but it won't be prosecuted further as long as it meets certain requirements, like strengthening its internal controls.

According to reports, HSBC will pay $1.25 billion in forfeiture -- the largest ever for a bank, and $655 million in civil penalties. The U.S. Justice Department is expected to detail the settlement later Tuesday.

The bank said it has scaled back bonuses from senior staff, spent more than $290 million on corrective steps and attempted to limit the amount of business it does with countries that could pose a high risk of financial crime.

Delta Air Lines ( DAL) is trending as the carrier purchased Singapore Airlines' 49% stake in Britain's Virgin Atlantic for $360 million.

Delta and Virgin also announced a trans-Atlantic joint venture under which they will share costs and revenue on routes between Britain and North America. The two carriers will operate 31 peak-day round-trip flights between the U.K. and North America. Planned routes include nine daily round-trip flights from London Heathrow to New York City's John F. Kennedy Airport and New Jersey's Newark Liberty International Airport.

The deal is a coup for Delta, as it gives the airline a more enhanced presence at Heathrow, Europe's busiest airport. Virgin is the second-largest carrier at Heathrow, where landing slots are difficult to acquire.

Entrepreneur and Virgin Atlantic founder Richard Branson said he will retain his 51% stake in the airline. Branson founded Virgin in 1984, and Singapore Airlines bought 49% of the carrier for $965 million in 1999.

American International Group ( AIG) is another popular search. The U.S. Treasury Department said it has sold all of its remaining shares of AIG.

The Treasury said it received $32.50 a share for its 234.2 million remaining shares, which equated to a 16% ownership stake in the company. The Treasury provided $182 billion to support the insurance company at the height of the 2008 financial crisis. With this final sale, the Treasury said the government has been paid $22.7 billion more than it provided to rescue AIG.

The Treasury conducted six public offerings of AIG stock over the past year and a half. Before it started selling the 1.66 billion AIG shares it held, the Treasury owned 92% of the company's common stock.

This last sale marks another step in the government's efforts to wrap up the bailout of the 2008 financial crisis.

The chatter on Main Street (a.k.a. Google, Yahoo! and other search sites) is always of interest to investors on Wall Street. Thus, each day, TheStreet compiles the stories that are trending on the Web, and highlights the news that could make stocks move.

-- Written by Brittany Umar.
Brittany joined TV in November 2006 after completing a degree in Journalism and Media Studies at Rutgers College. Previously, Brittany interned at the local ABC affiliate in New York City WABC-TV 7 where she helped research and produce On Your Side, a popular consumer advocacy segment.