In Charles Darwin’s world, no matter your position in the food chain, your next meal not to mention your survival depended on speed, agility and cunning. Whether or not you buy into Darwin’s version of evolution and/or natural selection, the “survival of the fittest” model is alive, well and thriving in the 21st Century, with a few extras. Financial wealth and political influence are now the dominant currencies that determine your relative position in the food chain. They may also be the deciding factors determining whether or not you remain free to exercise your free will. HSBC, the world’s third largest bank, provides all the evidence we need to validate the assertion that in the U.S. wealth can keep you out of prison no matter the crime you commit; and without wealth or influence in high places even trivial transgressions could find you doing hard time.
HSBC was a “too-big-to-fail” bank which did not receive Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) bailout funds directly, but was an indirect benefactor due to its relationship with AIG before the 2008 financial crisis. (2) The TARP apologists will say big deal, the $3.5 billion bailout to HSBC made good business sense for the citizens because the U.S. Treasury actually made money on its TARP investments. Really? Mexican and Columbian drug cartels make an insane amount of money on illegal drugs. The irony here is that HSBC in addition to its role in the financial collapse also had a major role in laundering money for the drug cartels and international terrorists. According to Christie Smythe at Bloomberg Business, HSBC executed $670 billion in unmonitored, illegal transfers. (3) HSBC’s fine was less than three hundredths of one percent of that $670 billion. To put that in perspective, if you got the same deal as the U.S. Department of Justice gave HSBC, you could steal $10,000 and all would be forgiven for a mere $28 fine. Smythe also reports that HSBC made $9.5 billion worth of unreported currency exchanges. A 2% fee would result in a $190 million positive cash flow for HSBC. The world currency market, estimated at about $1 trillion per day, provides a golden opportunity for massive profits not to mention allowing money launderers to hide illegal transactions among the hundreds of billions of dollars of legal exchanges each day. But apparently HSBC is not through with breaking the law as they are again under scrutiny for a global tax scandal where HSBC Switzerland helped wealthy U.S. taxpayers hide their assets from the taxman. Billion dollar bailouts, big bonuses to senior management, money laundering for drug cartels and terrorists and now aiding and abetting tax evasion; but not one HSBC executive has spent or probably will spend even one day in jail.
Contrast that to Stephanie George who in 1998 had a lock box containing illegal drugs seized from her home she claims was placed there by a former drug dealing boyfriend. Stephanie had never been charged with violence but was sentenced to life without parole leaving three children parentless. Although HSBC and Stephanie George are just two atrocities at opposite ends of the legal spectrum, our judicial landscape is littered with over-the-top prosecutorial and judicial misconduct that pimps for the political class and comes down hard on the citizens, unless of course you have wealth and influence on your side to negotiate the law of the jungle that typifies the U.S. legal system.
- Jerome Corsi, HSBC whistleblower spills Lynch evidence to Senate, World Net Daily, February 19, 2015.
- Glenn Greenwald, HSBC, too big to jail, is the new poster child for US two-tiered justice system, www.theguardian.com, December 12, 2012.
- Paul Lewis, Republicans seize on HSBC scandal to hold up Loretta Lynch’s confirmation, The Guardian, February 13, 2015.
- Christie Smythe, HSBC Judge approves $1.9 billion drug-money laundering accord, Bloomberg Business, July 13, 2013.
- www.HSBCwatch.com, October 1, 2009