In recent months, HSBC Holdings, Standard Chartered and Royal Bank of Scotland have admitted criminal wrongdoing in agreements with U.S. regulators, despite being European entities. Legal experts cite better resources and a system more conducive to prosecuting corporate criminal liability for the far reach of the U.S. justice system. "The U.S. will assert jurisdiction aggressively, even if there's only a minimal link," said Judith Seddon of law firm Clifford Chance.

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