This video is called HSBC in court again after found guilty of money laundering.
A video from Britain, no longer on YouTube, used to say about itself:
HSBC · Drug Dealers, Gun Runners, Slaves & Money Laundering · David Cameron‘s Ancestral Legacy
Nov 9, 2012
Britain’s biggest bank is at the centre of a major HM Revenue and Customs investigation after it opened offshore accounts in Jersey for serious criminals living in this country, The Telegraph can disclose.
From daily News Line in Britain:
Saturday, 10 November 2012
HSBC new ‘dirty money’ laundering allegations
THE HSBC bank, the biggest bank in Europe, says it is looking into allegations that it has set up a large number of offshore accounts in Jersey for criminal gangs to launder ‘dirty’ money’, the profits made from drugs and people trafficking.
HSBC bank has just put aside a further $800m (£500m) to cover potential money-laundering fines in the US.
The bank had already put aside $700m after a US Senate report published in July said lax controls had left it vulnerable to money laundering.
Mexican regulators had earlier imposed a fine of $27.5m (£17.7m) on the banking giant for its failure to comply with money-laundering regulations.
Just before that fine was imposed, HSBC’s chief compliance officer resigned over allegations that the bank ignored warnings that Mexican drug money was being allowed to pass through the bank.
The fine is the highest ever imposed by Mexican regulators.
It constitutes 51.5% of the 2011 annual profit of HSBC’s Mexican subsidiary.
Mexico’s National Banking and Securities Commission (CNBV) said it had imposed the fine against HSBC due to its ‘non-compliance with anti-money laundering systems and controls’.
HSBC Mexico issued a statement acknowledging that it failed to report 39 suspicious transactions and had been late in reporting 1,729 others.
‘HSBC Mexico recognises it failed to strictly comply with banking regulations, and with the standards that regulators and clients expect of our institution,’ it said.
Earlier, a United States Senate committee found that HSBC had provided a conduit for ‘drug kingpins and rogue nations’.
After all this – now come the Jersey allegations.
According to the Daily Telegraph, the tax authorities have obtained details of ‘every British client of HSBC in Jersey’ based on information provided by a whistle-blower.
It has been reported that the 4,000 offshore account holders include a well-known drug dealer living in Central America, bankers who face allegations of fraud and a man once dubbed London’s ‘number two crook’.
The US Senate report alleged that staff at HSBC’s global operations had laundered billions of dollars for drug cartels and terrorists in a ‘pervasively polluted’ culture that persisted for years.
The report detailed how HSBC’s subsidiaries cleared suspicious travellers’ cheques worth billions, and allowed Mexican drug lords to buy planes with money laundered through Cayman Islands accounts.
HSBC is one of the banks that the working people of the world are being forced to prop up with trillions of dollars and pounds through the various austerity programmes that are under way, as well as tens of millions of workers losing their jobs, and their pensions, and tens of millions of young people are having their futures sacrificed for.
Capitalism is renowned as the operation of the ‘law of the jungle’, the survival of the fittest, as far as human society is concerned.
Now we have been shown, once again, that at its pinnacle there are groups of bankers who dominate the capitalist world economy, and are the envy of all those who want to get rich under capitalism, who are engaged in criminal activities, even by the standards of bourgeois law. In fact, where the criminal world ends and their world of super-exploitation begins is blurred, to say the least.
Rogue bank HSBC said today that it will pay $1.9 billion (£1.18bn) to buy its way out of a US government money-laundering probe: here.
HSBC faces more tax evasion claims: here.
A parliamentary report released April 5 on the collapse of HBOS (Halifax Bank of Scotland) points to acts of criminality and corruption that go well beyond one financial institution: here.
Criminal Capital: How the Finance Industry Facilitates Crime by Stephen Platt (Palgrave Macmillan, £19.99): here.
- HSBC to probe ‘criminal’ accounts (bbc.co.uk)
- UK to probe HSBC accounts allegedly used by criminals (thehindu.com)
- HSBC investigated by Jersey regulators (guardian.co.uk)
- Britain Opens Inquiry on HSBC Over Tax Haven (dealbook.nytimes.com)
- HSBC ‘investigated for money laundering in Jersey’ (itv.com)
- VIDEO: ‘Criminal’ accounts probed by HSBC (bbc.co.uk)
- Elizabeth Warren Demands Jail for HSBC ‘Money Launderers’ (jhaines6.wordpress.com)
- HSBC faces new money laundering claims in Argentina (standard.co.uk)
- HSBC in new money laundering claims (bbc.co.uk)
- Elizabeth Warren Wants HSBC Bankers Jailed, Regulators Have Ties to Bank (news.firedoglake.com)
Well, time to switch banks.
Yes. And time for governments to do something about criminal bankers, instead of bailing them out and imposing austerity on the people to get money for those bailouts.
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(Many poor and desperate migrants, especially Filipino migrants, become victims of the brutal drug trade as “mules” or drug couriers. Those who get caught are punished severely and meted with the death penalty. Yet, the biggest drug criminals and their corporate partners in crime, like the HSBC, get absolved by the equally criminal totalitarian “empire”.)
Outrageous HSBC Settlement Proves the Drug War is a Joke
By Matt Taibbi
POSTED: December 13, 3:25 PM ET
Rolling Stone (Politics)
If you’ve ever been arrested on a drug charge, if you’ve ever spent even a day in jail for having a stem of marijuana in your pocket or “drug paraphernalia” in your gym bag, Assistant Attorney General and longtime Bill Clinton pal Lanny Breuer has a message for you: Bite me.
Breuer this week signed off on a settlement deal with the British banking giant HSBC that is the ultimate insult to every ordinary person who’s ever had his life altered by a narcotics charge. Despite the fact that HSBC admitted to laundering billions of dollars for Colombian and Mexican drug cartels (among others) and violating a host of important banking laws (from the Bank Secrecy Act to the Trading With the Enemy Act), Breuer and his Justice Department elected not to pursue criminal prosecutions of the bank, opting instead for a “record” financial settlement of $1.9 billion, which as one analyst noted is about five weeks of income for the bank.
The banks’ laundering transactions were so brazen that the NSA probably could have spotted them from space. Breuer admitted that drug dealers would sometimes come to HSBC’s Mexican branches and “deposit hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, in a single day, into a single account, using boxes designed to fit the precise dimensions of the teller windows.”
This bears repeating: in order to more efficiently move as much illegal money as possible into the “legitimate” banking institution HSBC, drug dealers specifically designed boxes to fit through the bank’s teller windows. Tony Montana’s henchmen marching dufflebags of cash into the fictional “American City Bank” in Miami was actually more subtle than what the cartels were doing when they washed their cash through one of Britain’s most storied financial institutions.
Though this was not stated explicitly, the government’s rationale in not pursuing criminal prosecutions against the bank was apparently rooted in concerns that putting executives from a “systemically important institution” in jail for drug laundering would threaten the stability of the financial system. The New York Times put it this way:
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.
It doesn’t take a genius to see that the reasoning here is beyond flawed. When you decide not to prosecute bankers for billion-dollar crimes connected to drug-dealing and terrorism (some of HSBC’s Saudi and Bangladeshi clients had terrorist ties, according to a Senate investigation), it doesn’t protect the banking system, it does exactly the opposite. It terrifies investors and depositors everywhere, leaving them with the clear impression that even the most “reputable” banks may in fact be captured institutions whose senior executives are in the employ of (this can’t be repeated often enough) murderers and terrorists. Even more shocking, the Justice Department’s response to learning about all of this was to do exactly the same thing that the HSBC executives did in the first place to get themselves in trouble – they took money to look the other way.
And not only did they sell out to drug dealers, they sold out cheap. You’ll hear bragging this week by the Obama administration that they wrested a record penalty from HSBC, but it’s a joke. Some of the penalties involved will literally make you laugh out loud. This is from Breuer’s announcement:
As a result of the government’s investigation, HSBC has . . . “clawed back” deferred compensation bonuses given to some of its most senior U.S. anti-money laundering and compliance officers, and agreed to partially defer bonus compensation for its most senior officials during the five-year period of the deferred prosecution agreement.
Wow. So the executives who spent a decade laundering billions of dollars will have to partially defer their bonuses during the five-year deferred prosecution agreement? Are you fucking kidding me? That’s the punishment? The government’s negotiators couldn’t hold firm on forcing HSBC officials to completely wait to receive their ill-gotten bonuses? They had to settle on making them “partially” wait? Every honest prosecutor in America has to be puking his guts out at such bargaining tactics. What was the Justice Department’s opening offer – asking executives to restrict their Caribbean vacation time to nine weeks a year?
So you might ask, what’s the appropriate financial penalty for a bank in HSBC’s position? Exactly how much money should one extract from a firm that has been shamelessly profiting from business with criminals for years and years? Remember, we’re talking about a company that has admitted to a smorgasbord of serious banking crimes. If you’re the prosecutor, you’ve got this bank by the balls. So how much money should you take?
How about all of it? How about every last dollar the bank has made since it started its illegal activity? How about you dive into every bank account of every single executive involved in this mess and take every last bonus dollar they’ve ever earned? Then take their houses, their cars, the paintings they bought at Sotheby’s auctions, the clothes in their closets, the loose change in the jars on their kitchen counters, every last freaking thing. Take it all and don’t think twice. And then throw them in jail.
Sound harsh? It does, doesn’t it? The only problem is, that’s exactly what the government does just about every day to ordinary people involved in ordinary drug cases.
It’d be interesting, for instance, to ask the residents of Tenaha, Texas what they think about the HSBC settlement. That’s the town where local police routinely pulled over (mostly black) motorists and, whenever they found cash, offered motorists a choice: They could either allow police to seize the money, or face drug and money laundering charges.
Or we could ask Anthony Smelley, the Indiana resident who won $50,000 in a car accident settlement and was carrying about $17K of that in cash in his car when he got pulled over. Cops searched his car and had drug dogs sniff around: The dogs alerted twice. No drugs were found, but police took the money anyway. Even after Smelley produced documentation proving where he got the money from, Putnam County officials tried to keep the money on the grounds that he could have used the cash to buy drugs in the future.
Seriously, that happened. It happens all the time, and even Lanny Breuer’s own Justice Deparment gets into the act. In 2010 alone, U.S. Attorneys’ offices deposited nearly $1.8 billion into government accounts as a result of forfeiture cases, most of them drug cases. You can see the Justice Department’s own statistics right here:
Justice Department’s own statistics
If you get pulled over in America with cash and the government even thinks it’s drug money, that cash is going to be buying your local sheriff or police chief a new Ford Expedition tomorrow afternoon.
And that’s just the icing on the cake. The real prize you get for interacting with a law enforcement officer, if you happen to be connected in any way with drugs, is a preposterous, outsized criminal penalty. Right here in New York, one out of every seven cases that ends up in court is a marijuana case.
Just the other day, while Breuer was announcing his slap on the wrist for the world’s most prolific drug-launderers, I was in arraignment court in Brooklyn watching how they deal with actual people. A public defender explained the absurdity of drug arrests in this city. New York actually has fairly liberal laws about pot – police aren’t supposed to bust you if you possess the drug in private. So how do police work around that to make 50,377 pot-related arrests in a single year, just in this city? That was 2010; the 2009 number was 46,492.)
“What they do is, they stop you on the street and tell you to empty your pockets,” the public defender explained. “Then the instant a pipe or a seed is out of the pocket – boom, it’s ‘public use.’ And you get arrested.”
People spend nights in jail, or worse. In New York, even if they let you off with a misdemeanor and time served, you have to pay $200 and have your DNA extracted – a process that you have to pay for (it costs 50 bucks). But even beyond that, you won’t have search very far for stories of draconian, idiotic sentences for nonviolent drug crimes.
Just ask Cameron Douglas, the son of Michael Douglas, who got five years in jail for simple possession. His jailers kept him in solitary for 23 hours a day for 11 months and denied him visits with family and friends. Although your typical non-violent drug inmate isn’t the white child of a celebrity, he’s usually a minority user who gets far stiffer sentences than rich white kids would for committing the same crimes – we all remember the crack-versus-coke controversy in which federal and state sentencing guidelines left (predominantly minority) crack users serving sentences up to 100 times harsher than those meted out to the predominantly white users of powdered coke.
The institutional bias in the crack sentencing guidelines was a racist outrage, but this HSBC settlement blows even that away. By eschewing criminal prosecutions of major drug launderers on the grounds (the patently absurd grounds, incidentally) that their prosecution might imperil the world financial system, the government has now formalized the double standard.
They’re now saying that if you’re not an important cog in the global financial system, you can’t get away with anything, not even simple possession. You will be jailed and whatever cash they find on you they’ll seize on the spot, and convert into new cruisers or toys for your local SWAT team, which will be deployed to kick in the doors of houses where more such inessential economic cogs as you live. If you don’t have a systemically important job, in other words, the government’s position is that your assets may be used to finance your own political disenfranchisement.
On the other hand, if you are an important person, and you work for a big international bank, you won’t be prosecuted even if you launder nine billion dollars. Even if you actively collude with the people at the very top of the international narcotics trade, your punishment will be far smaller than that of the person at the very bottom of the world drug pyramid. You will be treated with more deference and sympathy than a junkie passing out on a subway car in Manhattan (using two seats of a subway car is a common prosecutable offense in this city). An international drug trafficker is a criminal and usually a murderer; the drug addict walking the street is one of his victims. But thanks to Breuer, we’re now in the business, officially, of jailing the victims and enabling the criminals.
This is the disgrace to end all disgraces. It doesn’t even make any sense. There is no reason why the Justice Department couldn’t have snatched up everybody at HSBC involved with the trafficking, prosecuted them criminally, and worked with banking regulators to make sure that the bank survived the transition to new management. As it is, HSBC has had to replace virtually all of its senior management. The guilty parties were apparently not so important to the stability of the world economy that they all had to be left at their desks.
So there is absolutely no reason they couldn’t all face criminal penalties. That they are not being prosecuted is cowardice and pure corruption, nothing else. And by approving this settlement, Breuer removed the government’s moral authority to prosecute anyone for any other drug offense. Not that most people didn’t already know that the drug war is a joke, but this makes it official.
Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/outrageous-hsbc-settlement-proves-the-drug-war-is-a-joke-20121213#ixzz2TSEhev96
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