Posted on March 8, 2013 by Jean
Source: Reader Supported News
By Chris Good, ABC News
08 March 13
lizabeth Warren has a question: How much money does a bank have to launder before people go to jail?
Warren, the Democratic senator from Massachusetts and
financial-regulatory maven, posed that question numerous times to
financial regulators at a Senate Banking Committee hearing Thursday on
banks and money laundering.
In December, U.S. Justice Department officials announced that HSBC, Europe’s largest bank, would pay a $1.92 billion fine after
laundering $881 million for drug cartels in Mexico and Colombia. At the
time, the Justice Department disputed accusations that it views some
banks as too big to prosecute.
The two regulators, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial
Intelligence David S. Cohen and Federal Reserve Governor Jerome H.
Powell, deflected Warren’s questions, saying that criminal prosecutions
are for the Justice Department to decide.
“If you’re caught with an ounce of cocaine, the chances are good
you’re going to jail. If it happens repeatedly, you may go to jail for
the rest of your life,” an exasperated Warren said, as she wrapped up
her questioning. “But evidently, if you launder nearly a billion dollars
for drug cartels and violate 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 think that’s
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