In September I stuck up a post about Lanny Breuer (asst. AG) in a speech telling the NYC Bar Association that deferred prosecutions are the way to go because they increase corporate accountability. Seriously. The video of his speech is either truly creepy or hilarious, depending on your mood (my bolds throughout).
To be clear, the decision of whether to indict a corporation, defer prosecution, or decline altogether is not one that I, or anyone in the Criminal Division, take lightly. We are frequently on the receiving end of presentations from defense counsel, CEOs, and economists who argue that the collateral consequences of an indictment would be devastating for their client. In my conference room, over the years, I have heard sober predictions that a company or bank might fail if we indict, that innocent employees could lose their jobs, that entire industries may be affected, and even that global markets will feel the effects. Sometimes – though, let me stress, not always – these presentations are compelling.
So … let’s see; sober people (by which we can assume he means ‘serious’ people) have convinced the Justice Department that putting some asshole criminal bankers in prison would topple the financial system and cause global markets to shudder and shiver, O MY!
We’ve just learned that the DoJ decided that secretly laundering hundreds of millions of drug cartel money through their banks globally will cost HSBC…$1.92 billion in a settlement that includes…no criminal prosecutions. But, oh, my stars, the folks at HSBC promise never to do such careless stuff again! Neil Barofsky says that there were also hundreds of millions of more dollars of illegally disguised transactions with ‘rogue’ nations such as Iran and Sudan.
Neil Barofsky calls the story ‘Too Big to Jail’, and our banking systems’s latest disgrace, but of course, the real disgrace is the DOJ’s giving the sixth largest multinational company a Stay Out of Jail Free card.