Of course, no one has gone to jail, no one has been brought to trial, and everyone is keeping their bonuses. The company has paid a fine of $1.92 billion, which is a little less than six weeks of company profits.
U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren sounded off on the Department of Justice's utter lack of accountability in taking HSBC:
"If you're caught with an ounce of cocaine, the chances are good you're going to jail. If it happens repeatedly, you may go to jail for the rest of your life. But evidently, if you launder nearly a billion dollars for drug cartels and violate our international sanctions, your company pays a fine and you go home and sleep in your own bed at night…”
It is not just fundamentally wrong, it shows something far more concerning: The banks and the government are in business together, and as a result there are two sets of laws in America. One preview of what these strange bed fellows can do together is what is happening in Cyprus right now:
In a radical departure from previous aid packages, euro zone finance ministers want Cyprus savers to forfeit a portion of their deposits in return for a 10 billion euro ($13 billion) bailout for the island, which has been financially crippled by its exposure to neighboring Greece (Cypriots anxious about savings tax proposal);
When a government is addicted to spending and they ALL are, they cozy up to the money sources where they can get it. The banks will gladly pay big penalties because they will get it back in all kinds of fees from customers. There is a Yo-yo effect that settles in which both parties seem to be comfortable with.
Bank of America for example will pay $10 billion to federal mortgage issuer Fannie Mae to settle allegations that mortgages were improperly handled during the financial crisis. The bank will pay $3.6 billion in cash related to how it sold and distributed certain residential mortgage loans. (BAC) will also repurchase $6.75 billion worth of residential mortgage loans it and its Countrywide Financial unit sold to Fannie Mae, about 30,000 loans, from January 2000 through December 2008.
Another similar story:10 banks settle foreclosure claims for $8.5 billion.
In addition to forfeiting $1.256 billion as part of its deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) with the Department of Justice. That DPA sure sounds like a cleverly crafted legal gimmick to allow the HSBC executives to buy their freedom.
HSBC has also agreed to pay $665 million in civil penalties: $500 million to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and $165 million to the Federal Reserve for its anti-money laundering program violations. Is that to help up shore up the dollar and fund the Fed’s Quantitative Easing policy? It sounds a bit fishy to me.
To top it all the DOJ Office of Public Affairs released a long document (12/11/12) online delineating all cartels, agencies involved and laws broken. It seems there was four felony counts for breaking four acts or laws (long names each) and it took about 10 principal government official for more than 7 agencies to catch them. The document is carefully mentioning everybody with lots of kudos. I wonder how many will get promoted after this (that will cost the taxpayer more money too!).
Let us do a quick comparison. Remember my blog Laughing ist Verboten… where I tell the story of a disabled man Robert Schiavelli who received two summons for laughing too loud in his home. Each ticket was $250 or 15 days in jail. Compare to HSBC and DO THE MATH!