Too Big to Prosecute ?
Posted in the Blairsville Forum
#1 Dec 11, 2012
Ain't it great to be too big and powerful to be prosecuted ?
HSBC's headquarters in London. Facundo Arrizabalaga/European Pressphoto Agency
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.
HSBC announced on Tuesday that it had agreed to a record $1.92 billion settlement with authorities. The bank, which is based in Britain, faces accusations that it transferred billions of dollars for nations like Iran and enabled Mexican drug cartels to move money illegally through its American subsidiaries.
Some prosecutors at the Justice Department's criminal division and the Manhattan district attorney's office wanted the bank to plead guilty to violations of the federal Bank Secrecy Act, according to the officials with direct knowledge of the matter
Despite the Justice Department's proposed compromise, Treasury Department officials and bank regulators at the Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency pointed to potential issues with the aggressive stance, according to the officials briefed on the matter. When approached by the Justice Department for their thoughts, the regulators cautioned about the effect on the broader economy.
The HSBC case is part of a sweeping investigation into the movement of tainted money through the American financial system.
The inquiry - led by the Justice Department, the Treasury and the Manhattan prosecutors - has ensnared six foreign banks in recent years.
Prosecutors also found that the bank had facilitated money laundering by Mexican drug cartels and had moved tainted money for Saudi banks tied to terrorist groups.
HSBC was thrust into the spotlight in July after a Congressional committee outlined how the bank, between 2001 and 2010, "exposed the U.S. financial system to money laundering and terrorist financing risks." The Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations held a subsequent hearing at which the bank's compliance chief resigned amid mounting concerns that senior bank officials were complicit in the illegal activity. For example, an HSBC executive at one point argued that the bank should continue working with the Saudi Al Rajhi bank, which has supported Al Qaeda, according to the Congressional report.
Despite repeated urgings from federal officials to strengthen protections in its vast Mexican business, HSBC instead viewed the country from 2000 to 2009 as low-risk for money laundering, the Senate report found. Even after HSBC's Mexican operation transferred more than $7 billion to the United States - a volume that law enforcement officials said had to be "illegal drug proceeds" - lax controls remained.
HSBC has since moved to bolster its safeguards. The bank doubled its spending on compliance functions and revamped its oversight, according to a spokesman. In January, HSBC hired Stuart A. Levey as chief legal officer to come up with stricter internal standards to thwart the illegal flow of cash. Mr. Levey was formerly an under secretary at the Treasury Department who focused on terrorism and financial intelligence.
On Monday, the bank said it was promoting Robert W. Werner, who oversaw the group at the Treasury Department that enforces sanctions, to run a specially created division focused on anti-money laundering efforts.
In 2010, the regulator found that HSBC had severe deficiencies in its anti-money laundering controls, including $60 trillion in transactions and 17,000 accounts flagged as potentially suspicious, activities that were not reviewed. Despite the findings, the regulator did not fine the bank.
#2 Dec 11, 2012
Too big to prosecute.
Too big to fail.
Too big to go down the drain when you flush the toilet.
It's all just one big pile of.....well....you get the picture.
#3 Dec 11, 2012
Kind of like United Community Bank...
#4 Dec 11, 2012
Don't forget me.
#5 Dec 11, 2012
Mountains Voice tried to warn us all that stuff like this was about happen...this is just the tip of the iceberg, as we transition into the age of Aquarius!!!
San José, Costa Rica
#6 Dec 12, 2012
That's why most Progressives held their nose when they voted for Obama.
Meet the new boss,
Same as the old boss.
#7 Dec 12, 2012
There is more crimes committed in the White-house in one day then all of corporate America commits in a year.
Never seen a bigger bunch of ling thieves.
#8 Dec 17, 2012
with the dead line fast approching,for your low property tax bill,how could we forget you!!!(merry christmas Mr. grinch.)
#9 Dec 17, 2012
A vague, general, unsupported, and blatantly ludicrous allegation.
Please don't be surprised when anyone with a IQ higher than a Barn Swallow, and/or at least three teeth, finds it unpersuasive.
#10 Dec 18, 2012
Want to make a few billion ?
Just pay off, bribe, and corrupt the system.
Hey, if you're Wal-Mart, the laws don't apply to you either.
New York Times
How Wal-Mart Used Payoffs to Get Its Way in Mexico
#11 Dec 18, 2012
When GM was opening plants in Mexico, they also paid a bunch of bribes, that is just a part of doing business in a corrupt country.
Oh!!!! That is OK because Obama owns GM, that is right, almost forgot.
#12 Dec 18, 2012
Actually the taxpayers bailed out GM, secured by GM stock.
GM has repaid the taxpayers.
Hundreds of thousands of jobs saved, billions in government social costs avoided, an entire manufacturing industry preserved, and the taxpayers made a profit.
Seems like a smart move to me.
But I agree, corporations in America but politicians in a more sophisticated manner and for a lot more money.
Still, what Wal-Mart executives did is blatantly illegal - but thanks to campaign contributions here in America - the D.O.J. will never prosecute.
#13 Dec 18, 2012
You are full of CHIT!
The gobberment hold billions of dollars of GM stock that if they sold right now would get 32. cents on the dollar they loaned, spread your Bull chit elsewhere.
#14 Dec 18, 2012
I don't see what your problem is.
I said the taxpayers bailed out GM and in return made money, saved GM, and saved an entire auto industry. Nothing you claim contradicts those facts. We still own GM stock and that's because the government wants to make even more money.
But hey, enjoy your opinion. Me, I'll celebrate savings American jobs and American industry.
#15 Dec 18, 2012
Report: Law Prof, Other Critics Complain About DOJ Approach to âToo Big to Jailâ Bank Crimes
By Martha Neil
7 hours, 58 minutes ago
A record settlement of $1.9 billion with HSBC that was announced earlier this month as result of a federal money-laundering probe against the United Kingdom-based bank was hailed by some as a sign that the justice system is working.
But others don't see much benefit in the pact with a financial institution accused of laundering money for murderous drug cartels in Mexico, Iran and Libya. It is just the latest example of a "too big to jail" mindset in the executive branch that parallels the "too big to fail" approach that left taxpayers holding the bag for financial meltdown driven by big banks' irresponsible mortgage lending, critics complain. Among them is former federal prosecutor Jimmy GurulĂ©, who now teaches law classes at the University of Notre Dame, the Associated Press reports in a lengthy article.
âThese are actions that facilitated major international drug cartels to continue their operations,â GurulĂ© says.âNow, if that doesnât justify criminal prosecution, I canât imagine a case that would.â
#16 Dec 19, 2012
Steal Billions, and you get a Swiss Chalet, a home in St. Barts, a New York penthouse overlooking Central Park, and a $400 Million compensation package;
Steal a loaf of bread and you might spend the rest of your life in prison.
Ah, American justice.
UBS agreed to record fines to settle a rate-rigging case. Michael Buholzer/Reuters
By MARK SCOTT and BEN PROTESS
Last Updated: 7:10 AM ET
UBS, the Swiss banking giant, announced a record settlement with global authorities on Wednesday, agreeing to a combined $1.5 billion in fines for its role in a multiyear scheme to manipulate interest rates.
The cash penalties represented the largest fines to date related to the rate-rigging inquiry. The fine is also one of the biggest sanctions that American and British authorities have ever levied against a financial institution, falling just short of the $1.9 billion payout that HSBC made last week over money laundering accusations.
The government complaints laid bare a scheme that spanned from 2005 to 2010, describing how the bank reported false rates to squeeze out extra profits and deflect concerns about its health during the financial crisis.
The UBS case reflects a pattern of abuse that authorities have uncovered as part of a multi-year investigation into rate-rigging. The inquiry, which has ensnared more than a dozen big banks, is focused on key benchmarks like
In a series of colorful e-mails and phone calls, traders tried to influence the rate-setting process. "I need you to keep it as low as possible," one UBS trader said to an employee at another brokerage firm in September 2008, according to the complaint filed by the Financial Services Authority. "If you do that," the trader promised to pay "whatever you want. I'm a man of my word."
As the employees carried out the alleged manipulation, they also celebrated the efforts, with one trader referring to a partner in the scheme as "superman." "Be a hero today," he urged, according the complaint by regulators.
The UBS case provides a lens to view broader problems in the rate-setting process, which affects how consumers and companies borrow money around the world.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Justice Department leveled about $1.2 billion in combined fines.
The Justice Department's criminal division struck a non-prosecution agreement with the parent company.
#17 Dec 19, 2012
Hey pal, tell you what my problem is, you said the gobberment had been paid back abd that is pure bull.
The Gobberment had to them another 50 billion secured by usless stock so they cold make their first payment, also.
We have nothing back except stock purchased for a price, GM has not seen in 40 years if lucky one day will see 30 cents on the dollar IF GM servives.
#19 Dec 19, 2012
Although the Obama administration had initially provided the automaker five years to repay the money in full, in March 2010 GM made more than $2 billion in payments to the U.S. and Canadian governments and promised to pay the full balance of the loan portion by June. The company beat that self-imposed deadline when on April 21, 2010, GM CEO Ed Whitacre, Jr. announced that the company had paid back the entire amount of the U.S. and Canadian government loans, with interest, a total of $8.1 billion. The government still has $2.1 billion invested in preferred shares that pay dividends, plus a 61% share of common equity valued at about $45 billion to the U.S. and another $8.1 billion to Canada. Improved sales of new models are cited as improving the company's cash flow and allowing for the early payments. GM is also investing hundreds of millions in assembly plants in Kansas and Detroit, credited for preserving jobs. A White House report sent to Congress in August 2012 estimated the sale of the remaining G.M. stock acquired by the United States Treasury during the company's bankruptcy will result in a loss of $25.1 billion to the American taxpayer. The total cost to the taxpayer will be determined after the government sells its 26% stake in G.M. and its 74% stake in Ally Financial, formally known as GMAC, G.M.s financing arm. The combination of poor market share and sales has resulted in constantly decreasing stock prices. First quarter 2012 traded at $39.48, second at $33.47, third at $32.08, and fourth at $26.55. It is calculated that GM stock needs to be at $53.00 for the government to break even on their investment.
Some Republican congressmen were critical of the statement that GM had repaid the loan from TARP calling it a "lie to the American people". They say the money for the loan repayment came from other bailout funds housed in an escrow account belonging to the company. In a letter from Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) to Ed Whitacre, it is called an "attempt to disguise what is merely the exchange of one pool of taxpayer money for another pool of taxpayer money as 'real progress'". Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa called it a government-enabled TARP money shuffle.
Because GM was mentioning the loan repayment in commercial advertising, the non-profit Competitive Enterprise Institute, a think tank funded by conservative groups such as the Koch brother's charitable foundations, said it filed a false-advertising complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
#20 Dec 19, 2012
GM has most definitely not paid off the taxpayers and the losses are mounting.
Do you just make this stuff up as you go along?
#22 Dec 19, 2012
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