Department of Justice to HSBC: You are too rich and important to charge criminally
Anybody else read up on this? HSBC was *directly involved* in financing (and profiting off of) illegal transactions between drug lords and foreign terrorists, and the US government knew about it, so they investigated....and their conclusion? They won't prosecute, because it might cause HSBC to lose their banking license, which could have "destabilized the entire banking system." In other words, they're too rich and important to the economy to punish for violating international law, the Trading With The Enemy Act. I'm not even kidding; that's in the official statement from the US Justice Department:
Oh, but rest assured, they're profoundly sorry for all of that. Apparently not "sorry" enough to not do it in the first place, but....well, you know. Thoughts?
"Had the US authorities decided to press criminal charges, HSBC would almost certainly have lost its banking licence in the US, the future of the institution would have been under threat and the entire banking system would have been destabilised.
"HSBC, Britain's biggest bank, said it was 'profoundly sorry' for what it called 'past mistakes' that allowed terrorists and narcotics traffickers to move billions around the financial system and circumvent US banking laws. . . .
"As part of the deal, HSBC has undertaken a five-year agreement with the US department of justice under which it will install an independent monitor to assess reformed internal controls. The bank's top executives will defer part of their bonuses for the whole of the five-year period, while bonuses have been clawed back from a number of former and current executives, including those in the US directly involved at the time."