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Thread: Too big to jail.

  1. #1
    the philosophical pegasus Shadow Dragon's Avatar
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    Too big to jail.

    The government alleges that HSBC intentionally allowed prohibited transactions with Iran, Libya, Sudan and Burma. The federal government also said the bank facilitated transactions with Cuba in violation of the Trading With the Enemy Act.

    The documents say the prohibited transactions with Iran, Libya, Sudan and Burma took place from 2001 through 2006.

    In regard to the Mexican drug traffickers, the bank HSBC USA failed to adequately monitor over $9.4 billion from HSBC Mexico.

    The British banking giant on Tuesday issued an apology.
    "We accept responsibility for our past mistakes. We have said we are profoundly sorry for them, and we do so again," said Stuart Gulliver, group chief executive of HSBC.

    -SNIP-

    The government's allegations come as HSBC says it has agreed to pay $1.92 billion to settle the U.S. money-laundering probe. The bank announced on Tuesday that "under these agreements," HSBC will "continue to cooperate fully with regulatory and law enforcement authorities."

    -SNIP-

    The U.S. stopped short of charging executives, citing the bank's immediate, full cooperation and the damage that an assault on the company might cause on economies and people, including thousands who would lose jobs if the bank collapsed.

    Outside experts said it was evidence that a doctrine of "too big to fail," or at least "too big to prosecute," was alive and well four years after the financial crisis.

    The settlement avoided a legal battle that could have further savaged the bank's reputation and undermined confidence in the banking system. HSBC does business in almost 80 countries, so many that it calls itself "the world's local bank."

    -SNIP-

    HSBC even instructed an Iranian bank in one instance how to format messages so that its financial transactions would not be blocked, Breuer said at a news conference announcing the settlement.

    "The record of dysfunction that prevailed at HSBC for many years is simply astonishing," Breuer said.

    For the government not to go a step further and prosecute was "beyond obscene," said Bill Black, a former U.S. regulator for the Office of Thrift Supervision who now teaches at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

    "Regulators are telling us, `Yes, they're felons, they're massive felons, they did it for years, they lied to us, and they made a lot of money ... and they got caught red-handed and they're gonna walk.'"

    -SNIP-

    Court documents showed that the bank let over $200 trillion between 2006 and 2009 slip through relatively unmonitored, including more than $670 billion in wire transfers from HSBC Mexico, making it a favorite of drug cartels and money launderers. HSBC Bank USA at the time rated Mexico in its lowest risk category.
    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-34227_16...ng-drug-money/

    Some companies and banks are simply too big to prosecute, it seems. Even if they launder money for some of the worst regimes in the world and bloody cartels, breaking both American and international law.

    Now, this isn't the first time the Department of Justice has done a deferred prosecution agreement; in fact, this seems to be the preferred method of dealing with white collar crime now, as outlined here. It also shows how inept this type of punishment is.

    However, this sticks out since it's definitely one of the worst crimes by a bank that has been overlooked and just given a slap on the wrist. These guys were laundering money for a lot of horrible people and regimes and then only had to pay a fairly small percentage of their profits. Now, if a smaller company did this, oh, you better believe the feds would have came down harder on them but once you become too big to fail, you're above the law. Some people are simply more equal under the laws than others, especially when that person is a corporation.
    Last edited by Shadow Dragon; 12-14-2012 at 07:23 PM.
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  2. #2
    All Living is Local Don's Avatar
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    Three cheers for limited liability and corporate shields!

    That said, I thought this thread was going to be about some morbidly obese person who was placed on house arrest because they couldn't find a jail cell with a door big enough to admit them.
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  3. #3
    Legal Authority/Public Intellectual robeiae's Avatar
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    In my view, the executives responsible for decision-making should be prosecuted in full. They're not irreplaceable. If charges were filed, I'm sure stockholders would approve immediate termination.
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    I should be writing. Alpha Echo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Don View Post
    That said, I thought this thread was going to be about some morbidly obese person who was placed on house arrest because they couldn't find a jail cell with a door big enough to admit them.
    Ha! Me too!
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  5. #5
    Queen of the Realm Ambrosia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Don View Post
    That said, I thought this thread was going to be about some morbidly obese person who was placed on house arrest because they couldn't find a jail cell with a door big enough to admit them.
    Me three.

    Quote Originally Posted by robeiae View Post
    In my view, the executives responsible for decision-making should be prosecuted in full. They're not irreplaceable. If charges were filed, I'm sure stockholders would approve immediate termination.
    This. So why isn't it happening?


    This crap makes me so mad.
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  6. #6
    Legal Authority/Public Intellectual robeiae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
    This. So why isn't it happening?
    Powerful friends?

    Sen. Jeff Bingaman, New Mexico Democrat, reported the Dec. 3 sale of between $250,001 and $500,000 in HSBC stock on forms he filed with the Senate on Dec. 8.
    Three days later, HSBC announced it agreed to the record settlement. Reuters first reported the settlement last week...

    He’s chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. He also serves on the Senate Finance Committee.
    I put for the general inclination of all mankind, a perpetual and restless desire of power after power, that ceaseth only in death. --Thomas Hobbes

    Quote Originally Posted by CassandraW
    You're a smug, sneering, ranting asshole, and yet even when I despise your position, I like you.
    Learning to run, T'ai Chi style--blogging about running and Eastern philosophy
    Ponds of Happenstance--blogging about politics, economics, and history
    Sailor on the Ponds--tweeting about everything

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    Same-sex marriage and Southern heritage

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Don View Post

    That said, I thought this thread was going to be about some morbidly obese person who was placed on house arrest because they couldn't find a jail cell with a door big enough to admit them.
    +1

  8. #8
    Moderation in All Things AW Moderator Roger J Carlson's Avatar
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    HSBC should easily be able to absorb the $1.9 billion penalty issued this week. It turned a profit of $17 billion last year alone.
    Well, at least now the government has set the price for a "get out of jail" card. Could be a new revenue stream.
    Last edited by Roger J Carlson; 12-14-2012 at 07:52 PM. Reason: "stream" not "street"
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  9. #9
    Legal Authority/Public Intellectual robeiae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger J Carlson View Post
    Well, at least now the government has set the price.
    Where is Billy Ray Valentine when you need him?
    I put for the general inclination of all mankind, a perpetual and restless desire of power after power, that ceaseth only in death. --Thomas Hobbes

    Quote Originally Posted by CassandraW
    You're a smug, sneering, ranting asshole, and yet even when I despise your position, I like you.
    Learning to run, T'ai Chi style--blogging about running and Eastern philosophy
    Ponds of Happenstance--blogging about politics, economics, and history
    Sailor on the Ponds--tweeting about everything

    Stars, Bars, and Symbols of the Past

    Same-sex marriage and Southern heritage

  10. #10
    the philosophical pegasus Shadow Dragon's Avatar
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    Damn, I didn't even think of the fat joke in the title when I posted it. Now if I do come across an article like that, I'll have to come up with a different title for it.
    "There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance." - Socrates

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    Petulantly Penitent Magdalen's Avatar
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    Of all the people in the world, those with corporate personhood are clearly the least likeable of all.
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  12. #12
    "Assume Good Intentions" SuperModerator Williebee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robeiae View Post
    In my view, the executives responsible for decision-making should be prosecuted in full. They're not irreplaceable. If charges were filed, I'm sure stockholders would approve immediate termination.
    Yup. And after enough white collars got orange jumpsuits, the corporate culture might start to turn around.

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