In this spoof documentary, Bankwatch with Bill Oddie, the naturalist protests against HSBC's illegal logging by entering the den of a creature closely related to humans: the banker. HSBC has made nearly £100m bankrolling some of the world's most destructive logging companies in Sarawak Malaysia, and is at risk of violating international money laundering rules, according to NGO Global Witness.
At 12pm on Monday, March 18th, Occupy the NRA will take action against Blackstone, Cerberus & Owl Creek Asset Management. These firms were chosen either because they own millions of dollars of holdings in gun manufacturers’ stock or bought stock as a direct result of the Sandy Hook massacre.
A large amount of medical debt has been bought and abolished, and announcements in that regard are forthcoming. Yet although this will provide real relief to thousands of people who need it, it is only crumbs in light of the 70 million who still owe money on medical bills.
Strike Debt Declares Healthcare Emergency: 'It's a Matter of 'Life or Debt'' The Nation
Strike Debt, one of the offshoot groups of Occupy Wall Street, has planned a week of action March 16–23 in response to what it calls a “healthcare emergency.” A majority of personal bankruptcies in the United States are linked to medical bills, with 75 percent of people declaring bankruptcy even though they have health insurance.
The Cayman Islands Monetary Authority has officially revoked the banking license of HSBC S.A. (Cayman Islands Branch).
In a press release dated Friday, 1 March, the authority said that since last July the said bank had been under investigation to establish whether they had breached any local laws and regulations.
“In the Decision notice of 27 February, the CIMA revoked the Category B Banking license."
Following Section 18 (1) ( i) of the Banks and Trust Companies Law (2009 Revision), CIMA concluded that HSBC was conducting business in a manner detrimental to the public interest, the interest of depositors or of the beneficiaries of any trust or other creditors and that the direction and management of its businesses has not been conducted in a fit and proper manner,” read the announcement.
In September of 2012, then premier McKeeeva Bush made known that "the local operations of HSBC would be investigated, in the wake of the issues surrounding HSBC Mexico, which was the subject of a US regulators investigation for laundering funds of sanctioned nations including Iran and Sudan."
“Needless to say, as a government we are extremely concerned about the potential impact this could have on our jurisdiction. The actions or lack thereof by the bank officials and alleged misuse of the Cayman entity can undermine the jurisdiction’s hard work and accomplishments in the AML (anti-money laundering) regime,” Bush said in the statement released last year.
A bank that breaks money laundering laws is shut down. What a novel idea.
Once again, Senator Elizabeth Warren asks the most obvious question -- why aren't banks prosecuted? -- only to get the same incredulous responses. What? Prosecute the banks? No way!
Warren took bank regulators to task on Thursday about the fact that British bank HSBC is still doing business in the U.S., with no criminal charges filed against it, despite confessing to what one regulator called "egregious" money laundering violations.
Money laundering was a major focus of U.S. counterterrorism policy after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The Patriot Act of 2002 included provisions that required the Treasury Department to identify banks and individuals suspected of links to terrorism. And the law instructed banks to strictly monitor and report potentially illegal transactions.
"They did it over and over and over again across a period of years. And they were caught doing it, warned not to do it and kept right on doing it, and evidently making profits doing it," Warren said of HSBC. "How many billions of dollars do you have to launder for drug lords and how many economic sanctions do you have to violate before someone will consider shutting down a financial institution like this?"
The regulator she was questioning, David Cohen, the Treasury Department's undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, repeatedly refused to answer the question. Like other regulators at the hearing, he said that his department has no authority to shut down a bank unless the Justice Department convicts the bank of a crime.
Warren said: “If you’re caught with an ounce of cocaine, chances are good you’re going to go to jail. If it happens repeatedly, you may go to jail for the rest of your life. But evidentially, if you laundered nearly a billion dollars for drug cartels and violated our international sanctions, your company pays a fine and you go home and sleep in your own bed at night -- every single individual associated with this. And I just -- I think that’s fundamentally wrong.”
The issue is part of a broader debate over large financial institutions and whether they are too big to be broken up. The Massachusetts senator’s comments come after U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder acknowledged Wednesday that some of the largest banks are too big to prosecute and that prosecution could have a negative impact on the U.S. and global economies.
Speaking before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Holder said he is concerned that the size of some of these institutions “becomes so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are hit with indications that if you do prosecute, if you do bring a criminal charge, it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy.”
Holder added that “I think that is a function of the fact that some of these institutions have become too large.”
It is far past time for someone to "indicate" to Mr. Holder that he needs to prosecute the criminal banks, or someone will show him to the door.
In the latest issue of Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi takes the Justice Department to task over settling with HSBC late last year in the “largest drug-and-terrorism money-laundering case ever.”
"The HSBC case went miles beyond the usual paper-pushing, keypad-punching sort-of crime, committed by geeks in ties, normally associated with Wall Street," Taibbi writes. "In this case the bank literally got away with murder – well, aiding and abetting it, anyway."
Three-time losers doing life in California prisons for street felonies might be surprised to learn that the no-jail settlement Lanny Breuer worked out for HSBC was already the bank's third strike. In fact, as a mortifying 334-page report issued by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations last summer made plain, HSBC ignored a truly awesome quantity of official warnings.
Journalist Matt Taibbi assesses the Obama Administration’s approach to holding banks accountable for their behavior, and early indications are not promising. Taibbi tells Bill Moyers that fearing another economic calamity is no excuse for turning a blind eye to shockingly unethical decisions and management.
“The rule of law isn’t really the rule of law if it doesn’t apply equally to everybody. If you’re going to put somebody in jail for having a joint in his pocket, you can’t let higher ranking HSBC officials off for laundering $800 million for the worst drug dealers in the entire world,” Taibbi tells Bill. “Eventually it eats away at the very fabric of society.”
Watch Bill’s full conversation with Taibbi on this weekend’s Moyers & Company.
In a letter to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa complained that the Justice Department -- in accepting a $1.92 billion settlement in a money-laundering probe by federal and state authorities in the United States -- had not prosecuted a single HSBC employee, “no executives, no directors, no AML [anti-money laundering] compliance staff members, no one.”
“Even more concerning is the fact that the individuals responsible for these failures are not being held accountable,” he wrote. “By allowing these individuals to walk away without any real punishment, the department is declaring that crime actually does pay. Functionally, HSBC has quite literally purchased a get-out-of-jail-free card for its employees for the price of $1.92 billion dollars.”
The banking giant HSBC has escaped indictment for laundering billions of dollars for Mexican drug cartels and groups linked to al-Qaeda. Despite evidence of wrongdoing, the U.S. Department of Justice has allowed the bank to avoid prosecution and pay a $1.9 billion fine. No top HSBC officials will face charges, either.
Rolling Stone contributing editor Matt Taibbi, author of "Griftopia: A Story of Bankers, Politicians, and the Most Audacious Power Grab in American History," joins Democracy Now! to discuss how the bankers escaped criminal prosecution for their actions.
"You can do real time in jail in America for all kinds of ridiculous offenses," Taibbi says. "Here we have a bank that laundered $800 million of drug money, and they can’t find a way to put anybody in jail for that. That sends an incredible message, not just to the financial sector but to everybody. It’s an obvious, clear double standard, where one set of people gets to break the rules as much as they want and another set of people can’t break any rules at all without going to jail."
"Now, how did Forbes put it, Matt," asks Amy Goodman. "What’s a bank got to do to get into some real trouble around here?"
"Exactly, exactly," begins Taibbi. "And what’s amazing about that is that’s Forbes saying that. I mean, universally, the reaction, even in—among the financial press, which is normally very bank-friendly and gives all these guys the benefit of the doubt, the reaction is, is "What do you have to do to get a criminal indictment?" What HSBC has now admitted to is, more or less, the worst behavior that a bank can possibly be guilty of. You know, they violated the Trading with the Enemy Act, the Bank Secrecy Act. And we’re talking about massive amounts of money. It was $9 billion that they failed to supervise properly. These crimes were so obvious that apparently the cartels in Mexico specifically designed boxes to put cash in so that they would fit through the windows of HSBC teller windows. So, it was so out in the open, these crimes, and there’s going to be no criminal prosecution whatsoever, which is incredible."
A full transcript of the discussion below the fold.
State and federal authorities decided against indicting HSBC in a money-laundering case over concerns that criminal charges could jeopardize one of the world’s largest banks and ultimately destabilize the global financial system.
Instead, HSBC announced on Tuesday that it had agreed to a record $1.92 billion settlement with authorities. The bank, which is based in Britain, faces accusations that it transferred billions of dollars for nations like Iran and enabled Mexican drug cartels to move money illegally through its American subsidiaries.
While the settlement with HSBC is a major victory for the government, the case raises questions about whether certain financial institutions, having grown so large and interconnected, are too big to indict. Four years after the failure of Lehman Brothers nearly toppled the financial system, regulators are still wary that a single institution could undermine the recovery of the industry and the economy.
Big bank. Money laundering. No criminal charges. No jail. Shocking. Not.
Time to Rebel! Five Ways We Can Break the Big Banks' Death Grip on the Economy
Wall Street’s incredible greed and arrogance may have finally handed us the tools and leverage we need. Read it at Truthout.
Court orders Occupy Hong Kong to leave HSBC
Occupy Central in Hong Kong, one of the last outposts of the global protests sparked by the Occupy Wall Street movement, has been ordered to clear its encampment outside one of the world's largest banks.
Credit Card Debt Collection Flawed
Up to 90 percent of cases filed by credit-card companies to collect bad debts may be flawed, according to one New York judge who says he has heard as many as 100 in one day. The problem, say many of the judges who oversee the slew of suits filed by American Express, Citigroup, and other credit-card companies, is that they all follow the same he-said-she-said pattern—companies eager to collect debts try to make their cases with partial records and improper documents, leaving substantial holes in their arguments. The companies disagree, with one American Express spokesman telling The New York Times that the company has “a strong process in place to ensure accuracy of testimony and affidavits provided to courts.”
Occupier Charged With Terroristic Felony
David C. Gorczynski, 22, was charged on Tuesday with attempted bank robbery and terroristic threatening, both felonies, as well as one misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct. Police detained him after he walked into an Easton, PA Wells Fargo branch with a sign that read “You’re being robbed” and another that said “Give a man a gun, he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob a country.”