AIG actually decided against suing the taxpayers who bailed it out after it almost brought down the world economy.
HSBC, a British bank, is still getting away with laundering money for terrorists and drug cartels. firedoglake explains,
HSBC Bank had agreed to forfeit $1.256 billion and “enter a deferred prosecution agreement” for engaging in money laundering that involved the financing of drug cartels and groups with ties to terrorism. The agreement indicated there would be no criminal prosecution. Not one bank executive or lower-level banker would be put on trial and possibly sentenced to jail for his or her role in allowing money to be transferred to drug cartels or terrorists.FDL concludes:
Depending on one’s ethnicity, religion, class or occupation, the system of justice (or injustice) in America is now that a major bank can settle for what in HSBC’s case was, according to Matt Taibbi, about two months’ worth of profits when they engage in terrorist financing or banking where money is being transferred to drug cartels.The Guardian calculated that HSBC paid even less:
...the sum represents about four weeks’ earnings given the bank’s pre-tax profits of $21.9bn last year...What's significant about that, says zero hedge, is that the mainstream media is finally figuring out that banks are criminal enterprises. For example, the New York Times opined,
It is a dark day for the rule of law. Federal and state authorities have chosen not to indict HSBC, the London-based bank, on charges of vast and prolonged money laundering, for fear that criminal prosecution would topple the bank and, in the process, endanger the financial system.The Washington Post writes,
A string of august names in global banking — Credit Suisse, Lloyds Bank, ABN Amro, ING Bank and now HSBC — have reached settlements in the past couple of years with the U.S. government for billions of dollars in tainted transactions. These investigations have revealed that weaknesses in the financial system lay not with the so-called hawala brokers of Karachi, Pakistan, but the bespoke bankers of London, Amsterdam and Geneva, and their American affiliates.The Guardian reported in 2011,
“Wachovia’s blatant disregard for our banking laws gave international cocaine cartels a virtual carte blanche to finance their operations,” said Jeffrey Sloman, the federal prosecutor. Yet the total fine was less than 2% of the bank’s $12.3bn profit for 2009. On 24 March 2010, Wells Fargo stock traded at $30.86 – up 1% on the week of the court settlement.Maybe something will change now that the Daily Show is on to the banks...
The conclusion to the case was only the tip of an iceberg, demonstrating the role of the “legal” banking sector in swilling hundreds of billions of dollars – the blood money from the murderous drug trade in Mexico and other places in the world – around their global operations, now bailed out by the taxpayer.