Too Big to Jail: Our Banking System’s Latest Disgrace
You can be forgiven if you watched the Department of Justice’s announcement yesterday of a $1.92 billion settlement with HSBC with a sense of disappointment–and déjà vu. The event checked all the boxes in a theatrical routine that has become all too familiar.
Descriptions of breathtaking misconduct involving the facilitation of massive drug trafficking and transactions with rogue terror-sponsoring nations? Check.
Broad boasts about the “historic” nature of the settlement that will certainly end the type of criminal misconduct alleged? Check.
Mea culpas from the offending institution with promises that it has really learned its lesson this time and will never ever engage in dastardly conduct again? Yep, that too.
Nothing, however, was quite as it appeared. Sure, HSBC paid a record fine, but there was something vitally important missing from yesterday’s press conference: actual criminal charges for obvious criminal conduct.