The latest “greed is good” enterprise example is the ongoing and unchecked multi-billion dollar flagrant actions by British bank HSBC.

HSBC was fined $1.92 billion by pleading guilty to settle charges that it transferred billions of dollars for sanctioned nations, facilitated Mexican drug cartels to launder tainted money and worked with Saudi Arabian banks with ties to terrorist organizations.

A Senate report found that from 2000 to 2009, HSBC viewed Mexico as low-risk for money laundering, even though HSBC transferred more than $7 billion to the U.S.

Additionally, this report found bank executives ignored warning signs and permitted money laundering and terrorist financing to continue unabated from 2001 to 2010.

In another instance, HSBC instructed an Iranian bank how to format messages so that its financial transactions wouldn’t be blocked.

Therefore, it’s truly perplexing why prosecutors caved-in and refused to prosecute HSBC bankers involved in these and other treacherous dealings that put the Mafia to shame.

We know that in 2008 many Wall Street banks were deemed “too big to fail,” so Washington bailed them out. And although “they” created this disastrous ongoing recession, none of the high mucky-mucks ever went to jail.

Americans lost their homes, jobs, everything -- but no one was held accountable then. And still isn’t now.

And so here we go again, only this time the prosecutors have added a twist to the “too big to fail” rationale because additionally, now HSBC is also “too big to prosecute” or even indict. Unbelievable!

In addition to the fine – which amounts to a slap on HSBC’s wrist - prosecutors said the bank had agreed (how thoughtful of them) to enter into a “deferred prosecution agreement” whereby HSBC must keep its nose clean for five years or else prosecutors can move to indict the bank.

Prosecutors didn’t move to prosecute HSBC now but are “threatening” they will in the future if HSBC stubs its toe? Give it a rest, guys.

The reason given by HSBC attorneys to not prosecute them is that if the prosecutors won, HSBC would be put out of business, create disruptions in the financial markets and many jobs would be lost, etc.

Wasn’t it AIG, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan, Bank of America, etc. that played this card in 2008? And now they’re even bigger? Yep!

We now have a “play it again” scenario, where nobody goes to jail and we not only have additional egregious actions by banks but also government-sanctioned corruption running amok.

The feds should have prosecuted to the fullest extent possible, sent the guilty to jail and then kicked this felonious HSBC out of the U.S. – period!

We already have enough homegrown corrupt Wall Street banks and don’t need another one, especially this foreign money-laundering, etc. HSBC that helped fund Al Qaeda, which killed 3,000 Americans.

It’s your money.

Bill Balyszak's column appears Tuesdays in The Citizen and he can be contacted at

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