Market Watch

To Big to Jail?

There is nothing quite like the Attorney General flat out admitting that the banks and corporations are beyond the reach of our laws. Although not in the least bit surprised, I did find the flat out admittance to be a bit below there standards. Whenever a market has no counterbalance the consequences can be severe. It is exactly this reason systemic risks are taken by the corporate elite.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa: In the case of bank prosecution. I’m concerned we have a mentality of ‘too big to jail’ in the financial sector, spreading from fraud cases to terrorist financing to money laundering cases. I would cite HSBC.

I think we are on a slippery slope and that’s background for this question. I don’t have recollection of DOJ prosecuting any high-profile financial criminal convictions in either companies or individuals.

Assistant Attorney General Breuer said that one reason that DOJ has not sought these prosecutions is because it reaches out to ‘experts’ to see what effect the prosecution will have on the financial markets.

Attorney General Eric Holder: We will endeavor to answer your letter, Senator. We did not, as I understand it, endeavor to obtain experts outside of the government in making determinations with regard to HSBC.

Just putting that aside for a minute though, the concern that you have raised is one that I, frankly, share. I’m not talking about HSBC here, that would be inappropriate. But I am 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 we do prosecute — if we do bring a criminal charge — it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy. I think that is a function of the fact that some of these institutions have become too large.

Again, I’m not talking about HSBC, this is more of a general comment. I think it has an inhibiting influence, impact on our ability to bring resolutions that I think would be more appropriate. I think that’s something that we — you all [Congress] — need to consider. The concern that you raised is actually one that I share.

Full article can be read HERE