AP

Report: Bank of China to pay fine in Italy money-laundering

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MILAN (AP) — Italian media says the Bank of China has agreed to pay a 600,000-euro ($640,000) fine as part of a plea deal in a 4.5-billion-euro money laundering probe.

The news agency ANSA reported that at a preliminary hearing on Friday, a judge also convicted four bank officials of money-laundering, while dropping an aggravating charge of employing Mafia methods, and handed down suspended two-year sentences.

The judge also ordered the seizure of 980,000 euros, ANSA said, a sum equal to what prosecutors say were the bank's profits in the scheme.

The Bank of China said the plea deal was aimed at "avoiding a long trial and allowing the Milan branch to concentrate on developing its own business." It said the Milan branch had respected national and international laws.