Sham Justice: How HSBC avoided criminal charges for laundering drug money

“State and federal authorities decided against indicting HSBC in a money-laundering case over concerns that criminal charges could jeopardize one of the world’s largest banks and ultimately destabilize the global financial system.”

December 10th, 2012 New York Times DealBook article HSBC to Pay $1.92 Billion to Settle Charges of Money Laundering by BEN PROTESS and JESSICA SILVER-GREENBERG

Sometimes you require very few words to provide insight into a particular situation.  The HSBC story is one of these instances.

I never knew that HSBC was in the dry cleaning business . . . I wonder if they do same day turnaround?

I never knew that HSBC was in the dry cleaning business . . . I wonder if they do same day turnaround?

What’s the message that state and federal authorities are sending . . . it is okay to blatantly break a law that would result in significant jail time for a normal citizen as long as you are a big financial institution?

I wonder when the gates of freedom are going to open for Madoff, Ebbers and Skilling?  Oh maybe that’s where they went wrong . . . they weren’t the top dogs at a bank.  And don’t get me going on the colossal stupidity that is the purported war on drugs.

So what are your thoughts regarding the government’s decision not to prosecute HSBC?

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5 responses to “Sham Justice: How HSBC avoided criminal charges for laundering drug money

  • jimbouchard

    The willingness of our government to placate criminals in our best interests has simply created conditions where, for a price, these criminals can do whatever they want.

    Until and unless the citizenry is willing to suffer temporary inconveniences or even hardships to fully prosecute these crooks, this condition will continue.

    We bail out criminals and set them free to abuse us again to avoid the inconvenience of accessing our ATM machines for a few weeks.

  • piblogger

    You know what the perfect solution for this would be . . . an old run on the bank! That’s right . . . for making HSBC bank customers an unwilling party to a drug laundering scheme, every customer should pull their funds and close their accounts! We the people have the power to take action even if the government doesn’t?

  • piblogger

    Great response to this post by a LinkedIn reader who said; “Two tier justice. Disgusting. If you or I did anything close to this we’d be locked up for a very long time. Who know “too big to fail” also meant “too big to jail”…”

  • Dennis Nilsson

    A billion plus is a lot of money to me and most people but for a huge bank it’s, “the cost of doing business.” No fine will ever replace incarceration. Because there is no shame in paying a fine, in fact paying a fine in the banking business is simply getting away with the crime.

    If the crime of murder could be resolved with just paying a fine wouldn’t there be a lot more murders? In this case and in all cases were prosecutors have settled for just a payment of a fine they have done only one thing, they have LOST. On top of this often the bank doesn’t even have to admit that a crime has been committed.

    The prosecutors are pragmatic. While high fiveing after this agreement they exalted the size of the judgment which HSBC agreed to pay them! They want to pay the fine! They just want this whole mess to go away, and paying almost two billion is worth it!

    Next time, it has to be jail time or nothing. It doesn’t matter, even if they lose and get nothing, all that matters is that if a banker commits a crime someone is going to at least try to put them in jail. The threat alone is better then any fine.

    Anything less is an admission that the regulating authority is actively assisting a criminal activity which is the current reality.

  • piblogger

    Well said Dennis as I believe that your comment reflects the growing cynicism on the part of the public towards government regulators.

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