The Slap on the Wrist Financial and Corporate Crime Fines

corporate alliance pledgeHave you ever noticed that large corporations can get away with pretty much anything? Over and over again a major scandal breaks and in the end the fines are pennies on the dollar for the profits gained by these nefarious financial activities.

Banks can launder money with impunity and the consequences are a small fine in comparison to the profits made. No matter how egregious there are no criminal chargers or revoking of the bank's charter.

The British bank Standard Chartered said on Thursday that it expected to pay $330 million to settle claims by United States government agencies that it had moved hundreds of billions of dollars on behalf of Iran.

At first glance the record $1.9 billion HSBC fine for laundering Mexican drug cartel money looks like a solid. Yet buried in the fine print, HSBC avoids charges via deferred prosecution.

Banks Launder Money With Impunity

laundering moneyHSBC is a bank. They are also a money launderer. Last week the Senate subcommittee on investigations, part of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, issued a report (pdf) and held a hearing, U.S. Vulnerabilities to Money Laundering, Drugs, and Terrorist Financing: HSBC Case History. Contained within is a laundry list, if we can use the pun, of HSBC evil doings and how they mechanically laundry money for drug cartels, terrorists and tax evaders.

This is over a decade past 9/11 and seemingly HSBC has been operating with impunity. One of the conduits for money laundering is correspondent banking. Correspondent banking is when one financial institution provides services to another financial institution to move funds, exchange currencies, cash monetary instruments, or carry out other financial transactions. Even though in 2002, correspondent banking was recognized as a primary method to fund terrorist activities, the doors have not been shut.

Correspondent accounts continue to provide a gateway into the U.S. financial system, and wrongdoers continue to abuse that entryway.

Below is what has been done since 9/11, yet correspondent banking is alive and well.

Californian Judge socks it to the mobile phone industry...booyah!

Oh man oh man oh man...I love California Superior Court Judge Bonnie Sabraw! She managed to strike at the group I don't love, the mobile phone cartel!

Yes that's right, I'm calling them a cartel! Don't tell me you don't hate the mobile phone companies! Yes, they provide a service. Yes, they offer some whiz bang things like video on demand and email. But c'mon, you gotta admit that the prices are just insanely high! And don't get me started on the various fees like incoming text messages (I've been told by my Canadian friends that this is a new phenomenon up there)!

Though lately I've been on those pay-as-you go deals, what always got me about the plans were those cancellation fees. Yeah, I understand, they got a business to run and they don't want to risk losing customers. But do they have to charge fees as high as $250?? Outside of maybe one company, I don't know of any that says you get a grace period.