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This HSBC thing has my gut in knots. I'm serious. It has literally made me consider retiring from WSO, not because any of you had anything to do with it, but because I'm so nauseated by the level of corruption in finance today and the utter impotence on the part of anyone in authority to apply anything resembling the rule of law against those clearly guilty of heinous financial crimes. From the feckless shitheels in the DOJ to the remorseless turds in the boardrooms all over midtown and The City, I'm starting to think I've just had enough of it. Watch this if you want to see where justice goes to die:

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Comments (78)

  • karypto's picture

    With all due respect (not at you Eddy but just in general), if you haven't done something somewhat questionable in your career and got away with it you will be stuck in life and people will shit on you. There are so many 'goody naïve' types out there, they just think money grows on trees.

  • Nobama88's picture

    ^ ^ ^ ^

    lol... and people like Karypto is why Wall Street is the most hated industry in the world.

    Putting in an honest days of work = thinking money grows on trees? the fuck?

  • TNA's picture

    The government pissing and moaning about someone else cheating? This is hilarious. Can't expect justice from an unjust system.

    You want to end corruption, theft and disregard of law by the government? Make it smaller and less powerful.

  • In reply to karypto
    mikesswimn's picture

    karypto wrote:
    With all due respect (not at you Eddy but just in general), if you haven't done something somewhat questionable in your career and got away with it you will be stuck in life and people will shit on you. There are so many 'goody naïve' types out there, they just think money grows on trees.

    Wow, really? So, if you're not unethical during the course of your career, you're not going to move up and people are going to try and screw you? What world do you live in? I suppose you're one of those "jaded naive" types who everyone hates, and blames their failures on absurdities like, "I haven't been making enough questionable career choices".

    I really hope you're trolling because this is possibly the worst and stupidest post I've ever read on WSO.

    "My caddie's chauffeur informs me that a bank is a place where people put money that isn't properly invested."

  • clomeo4655's picture

    karypto must work in Congress

  • In reply to TNA
    NorthSider's picture

    TNA wrote:
    The government pissing and moaning about someone else cheating? This is hilarious. Can't expect justice from an unjust system.

    You want to end corruption, theft and disregard of law by the government? Make it smaller and less powerful.

    +1. Amen.

    "For all the tribulations in our lives, for all the troubles that remain in the world, the decline of violence is an accomplishment we can savor, and an impetus to cherish the forces of civilization and enlightenment that made it possible."

  • TheKing's picture

    Taibbi does yeoman's work on this stuff. Simply unreal. 99% of the media is completely useless on the topic.

    The HSBC thing is so beyond belief insane. Laundering that kind of money for those kinds of folks is madness and so blatantly criminal. Nothing makes sense anymore.

  • In reply to karypto
    greengohome's picture

    karypto wrote:
    if you haven't done something somewhat questionable in your career and got away with it you will be stuck in life and people will shit on you. There are so many 'goody naïve' types out there, they just think money grows on trees.

    You've got to be kidding me. There's a pretty big difference between asserting yourself and laundering money for the cartels. What HSBC did is pretty cut and dry wrong.

  • In reply to karypto
    dolph's picture

    karypto wrote:
    With all due respect (not at you Eddy but just in general), if you haven't done something somewhat questionable in your career and got away with it you will be stuck in life and people will shit on you. There are so many 'goody naïve' types out there, they just think money grows on trees.

    Watch out guys, we've got a badass over here...

    I don't know about you but I've never laundered drug money or bribed government officials. You're the naive one if you think they're necessary things to do to advance a career.

  • In reply to TNA
    job.resume's picture

    TNA wrote:
    The government pissing and moaning about someone else cheating? This is hilarious. Can't expect justice from an unjust system.

    You want to end corruption, theft and disregard of law by the government? Make it smaller and less powerful.

    We're actually looking to end corruption, theft and disregard of the law by HSBC and other financial institutions

  • TNA's picture

    I hope one day the government wakes up and realizes it is trying to fight a war that it created. You wouldn't need to launder money if there wasn't a "war" on drugs. And you wouldn't have a war on drugs if you didn't have an ever growing nanny state.

    You fine banks and punish them in non criminal ways because there isn't one person to blame. HSBC is not too big to fail and has jack balls sway in the US. The US government has imprisoned a bunch of executives and financial players. This idea that banks have immunity is simply populace fodder.

    Who at HSBC is going to go to jail for this? The CEO? The CFO? Money Laundering starts at the bank branch level and moves up. Banks have all kinds of systems in place to catch these things, but shit happens. So we will fine the fuck out of HSBC, use those fines to support US Government sanctioned criminality and so the world continues to spin.

    This entire society is criminal and unjust. Banks fuck people over. People read the law and fuck banks over. Corporations get graft from the government. People get graft from the government. We borrow money from other countries and debase our currency when we repay them. We unlawfully invade other countries. We kill our own citizens. We tax others because they have more than the voting block that authorizes these taxes. On and on and on.

    If you think we are living in some just work you aren't paying attention.

    Now does this provide justification to break the law? No. I am not advocating that. I am simply dispassionate when people make an economic decision on the benefits of ignoring a law and then have to suffer the consequences. Does HSBC ignoring money laundering laws piss me off? About as much as people who jay walk.

  • Football2Finance's picture

    Karypto, I didn't know laundering hundreds of millions of dollars for drug cartels and other organized crime groups was a 'questionable' decision. HSBC might as well fund Al Qaeda while they're at it

    “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win” - Sun Tzu

  • TheKing's picture

    TNA, I'm not sure you've really read into this. This isn't nearly as nebulous as you make it out to be. Your insinuation that we should basically just accept this because the world is unjust is the exact reason why this shit continues to happen.

    Also, if this were a case of welfare fraud or something related to that, there is no way in hell you'd be so non-chalant about it.

    C'mon man!

  • karypto's picture

    Am I supposed to feel some sort of emotion from these comments? Because I don't.

  • In reply to TheKing
    TNA's picture

    TheKing wrote:
    TNA, I'm not sure you've really read into this. This isn't nearly as nebulous as you make it out to be. Your insinuation that we should basically just accept this because the world is unjust is the exact reason why this shit continues to happen.

    Also, if this were a case of welfare fraud or something related to that, there is no way in hell you'd be so non-chalant about it.

    C'mon man!

    WSO is buggy today as my retort was never posted. Regardless, HSBC screwed up and is paying the price. They didn't get away with this. A $1.9B fine is substantial.

    HSBC's Mexican unit screwed up and the US unit was understaffed. Life moves on. I don't know who besides local branch managers and Mexican bankers would be arrested for this.

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblo...

    It makes me sick to gaze up this trash publication, but I will do so for the sake of argument.

    "Breuer admitted that drug dealers would sometimes come to HSBC's Mexican branches and "deposit hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, in a single day, into a single account, using boxes designed to fit the precise dimensions of the teller windows."

    See, this is the trouble with money laundering. It has to be stopped at the local level. Since Mexico is a third world country, it wasn't. This would have been red flagged as SAR'd right away in the USA. Once it is deposited the bank relies on internal systems, reports and supervision to detect it, which is pretty hard. Add to that the US Division is being parred back and understaffed. Mistakes happen.

    "Federal and state authorities have chosen not to indict HSBC, the London-based bank, on charges of vast and prolonged money laundering, for fear that criminal prosecution would topple the bank and, in the process, endanger the financial system."

    Who is going to be arrested for this? The DOJ is going to only go after upper level management which has nothing to do with money laundering detection. Also, this occurred in Mexico with a UK bank. Which jurisdiction will be involved. All a criminal investigation would do is destroy the bank and lead to a bank manager in Tijuana getting arrested.

    Bank executives had nothing to do with this, but the sheeple demand blood from anyone with a suit. Nothing but populace trash.

    The war on drugs is the real enemy and it has failed. The reason why it continues is because it is essentially slavery and reason to have a massive, military based police force.

    Do I care? No. Drugs are legal for me (I don't do them anyway). If you are educated and have some money you wont go to jail. So poor, inner city minorities and/or white trash go to jail. Essentially disenfranchising them and economically neutering them. Add that to the list of things I care about, slightly below my toast being over browned and not being able to get OJ with extra pulp.

    HSBC broke the criminal laws of a criminal government. Kind of like someone screwing North Korean tax collectors. Assholes fucking assholes. I have no doubt that $1.9B will go to some nefarious government program or something which infringes on our basic freedoms. Yippie.

  • In reply to TheKing
    NorthSider's picture

    TheKing wrote:
    TNA, I'm not sure you've really read into this. This isn't nearly as nebulous as you make it out to be. Your insinuation that we should basically just accept this because the world is unjust is the exact reason why this shit continues to happen.

    Also, if this were a case of welfare fraud or something related to that, there is no way in hell you'd be so non-chalant about it.

    C'mon man!

    There is welfare faud everyday, no one cares about it and no one is going to jail over it.

    Do people really take seriously a guy who, in an article ostensibly intended as a serious political commentary, called Paul Ryan "a self-righteously anal, thin-lipped, Whitest Kids U Know penny pincher who’d be honored to tell Oliver Twist there’s no more soup left"?

    Taibbi has an obvious agenda (not saying that there's anyone in journalism without one), and he obviously has very little understanding of the topics that he writes about. Even my friends who enjoy the policital commentary in Rolling Stone regard Taibbi as a nutcase.

    Like TNA says, there really isn't anyone in particular to blame for the HSBC mess, save for a few local bank officials, whose prosecution would only drive Taibbi even closer to insanity. Are we really supposed to believe that the ELT at HSBC was being bothered with the big-data suspicious transactions logs from a small Mexican bank that they acquired? Much less that they committed a criminal injustice by not detecting the laundering (which is obviously outside of their core competencies)?

    The real injustice here is that the federal government presses so hard against drugs that money laundering is necessary, and then they fine banks billions for not picking up their mess. Newsflash: there is a multi-billion dollar market for illegal drugs in the United States. That money doesn't just disappear.

    Logic informs us that money laundering is happening, and this is a fact of which we are all well aware. Far from being unconscionable, we willfully ignore this fact everyday, until it suits our particular political agenda because, SHOCK, a bank was implicated this time. The only difference in this case is that the laundering was obvious, and should have been detected by the regional bank branches quite easily. As for the billions of other dollars that are laundered every day - well apparently that's not a scandal.

    "For all the tribulations in our lives, for all the troubles that remain in the world, the decline of violence is an accomplishment we can savor, and an impetus to cherish the forces of civilization and enlightenment that made it possible."

  • TNA's picture

    When I think of a Mexican bank I think of a wobbly fan in some converted barn with one guy, sweating profusely, with an adding machine. We're not talking state of the art man.

    And is anyone surprised Mexico is where this happened? Drug cartels run that place.

  • TNA's picture

    I love the righteous indignation the US government has with banks and drug money. Just wait 5 years when we legalize and tax drugs. I wonder if the government will issue an apology.

    Also, keep in mind how much money the government makes off blood money in the form of alcohol and cigarette taxes. Pot, meet kettle.

  • In reply to NorthSider
    TheKing's picture

    NorthSider wrote:
    TheKing wrote:
    TNA, I'm not sure you've really read into this. This isn't nearly as nebulous as you make it out to be. Your insinuation that we should basically just accept this because the world is unjust is the exact reason why this shit continues to happen.

    Also, if this were a case of welfare fraud or something related to that, there is no way in hell you'd be so non-chalant about it.

    C'mon man!

    There is welfare faud everyday, no one cares about it and no one is going to jail over it.

    Do people really take seriously a guy who, in an article ostensibly intended as a serious political commentary, called Paul Ryan "a self-righteously anal, thin-lipped, Whitest Kids U Know penny pincher who’d be honored to tell Oliver Twist there’s no more soup left"?

    Taibbi has an obvious agenda (not saying that there's anyone in journalism without one), and he obviously has very little understanding of the topics that he writes about. Even my friends who enjoy the policital commentary in Rolling Stone regard Taibbi as a nutcase.

    Like TNA says, there really isn't anyone in particular to blame for the HSBC mess, save for a few local bank officials, whose prosecution would only drive Taibbi even closer to insanity. Are we really supposed to believe that the ELT at HSBC was being bothered with the big-data suspicious transactions logs from a small Mexican bank that they acquired? Much less that they committed a criminal injustice by not detecting the laundering (which is obviously outside of their core competencies)?

    The real injustice here is that the federal government presses so hard against drugs that money laundering is necessary, and then they fine banks billions for not picking up their mess. Newsflash: there is a multi-billion dollar market for illegal drugs in the United States. That money doesn't just disappear.

    Logic informs us that money laundering is happening, and this is a fact of which we are all well aware. Far from being unconscionable, we willfully ignore this fact everyday, until it suits our particular political agenda because, SHOCK, a bank was implicated this time. The only difference in this case is that the laundering was obvious, and should have been detected by the regional bank branches quite easily. As for the billions of other dollars that are laundered every day - well apparently that's not a scandal.

    I seriously doubt you actually read Taibbi if you take that view of him. Don't let your own political viewpoints cloud your judgement.

    As for the rest of your post (and TNA's), I just frankly don't care about arguing about this shit anymore. It's tired me out beyond belief. I'm just thankful that Taibbi is out there doing the work that he does covering all of this stuff.

    But, seriously...how does he "obviously have very little understanding of the topics that he writes about." Seriously. Please inform me.

  • TheKing's picture

    Btw, the language he uses is not an argument against the substance of his articles. Frankly, the colorful language makes him a more entertaining read.

  • TNA's picture

    King, what case would the DOJ have over UK HSBC executives. I mean do you really think the heads of HSBC knew about this shit? Mexican drug lords depositing cash in a Mexican bank?

    The bank messed up and got fined. One of the largest fines ever. Case closed. Banks are important. Morons getting busted with a crack pipe are not.

    We are not all equal. We are not all special. Some people have less value than others (myself included). Humans are essentially cattle with a voice box.

  • Edmundo Braverman's picture

    @TNA et al saying it's no big deal: why don't you read the facts before you blow it off? This went all the way to the top, and forget about the amount of money involved in the illegal transactions - just look at the sheer number of illegal transactions that the bank was made aware of years ahead of time and did nothing about. An HSBC clearing partner wired money into a 9/11 hijacker's account on September 5, 2011 for fuck's sake. These fuckers should be dragged through the streets, not be made to disgorge five weeks worth of revenues.

    Watch this video and then tell me HSBC's CEO didn't know anything and isn't guilty of anything (and look at Breuer's face at the 2:30 mark when he knows he's been had):

  • TNA's picture

    So suppose I ran a company and one of my employes was selling drugs and got caught. Should I go to jail because I employed them? Same argument. What executive should be arrested and imprisoned because some Mexican bank teller was allowing this shit to go on?

    When someone is caught laundering money it is easy to lay the blame on them. When someone within a company is doing it then it is a different story. Also, we put executives in jail all the time. Go tell Raj Rajaratnam that the US doesn't prosecute rich, financiers.

  • TNA's picture

    HSBC had a shitty compliance protocol. Wow. Lets arrest people. You have a global bank with major operations in developing nations. Shit is going to happen. Only reason the criminal enterprise called the US Government is pissed is because they didn't get their cut.

    And HSBC does business with Iran? Wow, who cares. It is a global bank. Iran is only OUR public enemy.

    "HSBC didn't do the money laundering." Bang. Done.

  • TNA's picture

    Could someone please lay out the "facts" for me. I've followed this story since it broke, since I am a former HSBC employee. I've read the wiki, the globes account, Taibbicats write up and now this thread. Lay out these juicy facts were the CEO is having dinner with Escobar and driving him to the bank to deposit this illegal cash.

    You have a bank operating around the world. Maybe, just maybe, the CEO wasn't getting briefed on some shitty Mexican branch taking large sums of Peso's in.

  • In reply to TNA
    snakeplissken's picture

    TNA wrote:
    So suppose I ran a company and one of my employes was selling drugs and got caught. Should I go to jail because I employed them? Same argument. What executive should be arrested and imprisoned because some Mexican bank teller was allowing this shit to go on?

    When someone is caught laundering money it is easy to lay the blame on them. When someone within a company is doing it then it is a different story. Also, we put executives in jail all the time. Go tell Raj Rajaratnam that the US doesn't prosecute rich, financiers.

    i don't think your analogy holds. in the case of employees selling drugs, that has nothing to do with the company itself. in a money laundering case, it has everything to do with what a bank does. and it's traceable - as in an executive could potentially figure out what is going on by looking at whatever bank records he needs to. if it's going on in his company, on his watch, and is actually involving his company, he is liable. not that other people aren't as well.

    Remember, once you're inside you're on your own.
    Oh, you mean I can't count on you?
    No.
    Good!

  • In reply to snakeplissken
    snakeplissken's picture

    snakeplissken wrote:
    TNA wrote:
    So suppose I ran a company and one of my employes was selling drugs and got caught. Should I go to jail because I employed them? Same argument. What executive should be arrested and imprisoned because some Mexican bank teller was allowing this shit to go on?

    When someone is caught laundering money it is easy to lay the blame on them. When someone within a company is doing it then it is a different story. Also, we put executives in jail all the time. Go tell Raj Rajaratnam that the US doesn't prosecute rich, financiers.

    i don't think your analogy holds. in the case of employees selling drugs, that has nothing to do with the company itself. in a money laundering case, it has everything to do with what a bank does. and it's traceable - as in an executive could potentially figure out what is going on by looking at whatever bank records he needs to. if it's going on in his company, on his watch, and is actually involving his company, he is liable. not that other people aren't as well.

    i'm sure there are tons of laws and whatnot and technical ways of saying what i just said, but my best guess as to why an executive is liable, in total layman's terms, is what i wrote above

    Remember, once you're inside you're on your own.
    Oh, you mean I can't count on you?
    No.
    Good!

  • TNA's picture

    Yeah, I agree. If a bank teller was doing it knowingly and the branch manager was helping hide this, it would be criminal. But the top executives of the firm? You would have a thin case at best.

    We put Tyco people in jail. Enron people. We put Raj in jail, Maddof. The government loves going after people like this. But a UK bank, with criminal behavior starting in Mexico, involving Caymen Islands. No way the DOJ is going to get a case on anyone but low level people.

    This is why they didn't press charges. It is easy to bust a little person. Much harder to tie a case to an exec of a global bank.

    End of the day the USA simply cares about being paid off. This idea that the DOJ is about justice is comical. HSBC got caught, they paid, case closed.

  • trazer985's picture

    having done some forensic work on a different UK bank, years ago, they were fined heavily for DELETING transaction histories of known drug barons, weapons dealers and terrorist operatives. I understand that you need to operate an account for these people, closing their account is nothing short of tipping them off. However complicit behaviour in enabling them to do their **** and hindering the state? Rot in hell whoever did that.

  • In reply to TNA
    NorthSider's picture

    TNA wrote:
    Yeah, I agree. If a bank teller was doing it knowingly and the branch manager was helping hide this, it would be criminal. But the top executives of the firm? You would have a thin case at best.

    We put Tyco people in jail. Enron people. We put Raj in jail, Maddof. The government loves going after people like this. But a UK bank, with criminal behavior starting in Mexico, involving Caymen Islands. No way the DOJ is going to get a case on anyone but low level people.

    This is why they didn't press charges. It is easy to bust a little person. Much harder to tie a case to an exec of a global bank.

    End of the day the USA simply cares about being paid off. This idea that the DOJ is about justice is comical. HSBC got caught, they paid, case closed.

    Echo this. The chances of suspicious bank statements making the desk of the CEO of a multinational bank are next-to-zero. There's no doubt there were complicit lower-ranking people in the organization and inadequate controls, but it likely stops there. I highly doubt the CEO of HSBC was presented a strong case representing that there was near certainty of drug cartels laundering money through the bank and he simply brushed it off with the explanation, "That might cost us a tad of revenue, let it pass."

    Let's also keep this in context: the DoJ isn't punishing HSBC for money laundering, they are punishing them for failing to prevent money laundering. The US Government puts laws into place re: laundering, then leaves the enforcement up to banks, who are swimming in regulations. Shouldn't come as any surprise that these things occasionally bubble up to the surface, given that we know money laundering happens everyday.

    "For all the tribulations in our lives, for all the troubles that remain in the world, the decline of violence is an accomplishment we can savor, and an impetus to cherish the forces of civilization and enlightenment that made it possible."

  • Houston_Oil_Drum's picture

    The endless critique of the 'revolving door' also puzzles me. It's been a long-established tradition in the US that experts in the private sector eventually, or at some point in time, lend their hands to government and relinquish higher paying jobs for the betterment of society. Now these acts are so viciously scrutinized that we're probably going through a government finance brain drain without even realizing it.

  • In reply to Houston_Oil_Drum
    NorthSider's picture

    econ_guru wrote:
    The endless critique of the 'revolving door' also puzzles me. It's been a long-established tradition in the US that experts in the private sector eventually, or at some point in time, lend their hands to government and relinquish higher paying jobs for the betterment of society. Now these acts are so viciously scrutinized that we're probably going through a government finance brain drain without even realizing it.

    100% agree. Why should it be surprising or nefarious that one of our country's top ranking corporate prosecutors came from a corporate law firm? Where else would he/she come from? The model of solely promoting lifetime civil servants assumes that you can obtain all the knowledge necessary and beneficial to perform these duties working only for the government, which is a stretch.

    "For all the tribulations in our lives, for all the troubles that remain in the world, the decline of violence is an accomplishment we can savor, and an impetus to cherish the forces of civilization and enlightenment that made it possible."

  • In reply to Houston_Oil_Drum
    FrankD'anconia's picture

    econ_guru wrote:
    The endless critique of the 'revolving door' also puzzles me. It's been a long-established tradition in the US that experts in the private sector eventually, or at some point in time, lend their hands to government and relinquish higher paying jobs for the betterment of society. Now these acts are so viciously scrutinized that we're probably going through a government finance brain drain without even realizing it.

    Completely agree. I see no problem with someone regulating the very same industry that made them wealthy. Doesn't seem like a conflict of interest problem at all. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulatory_capture

  • In reply to FrankD'anconia
    NorthSider's picture

    FrankD'anconia wrote:
    econ_guru wrote:
    The endless critique of the 'revolving door' also puzzles me. It's been a long-established tradition in the US that experts in the private sector eventually, or at some point in time, lend their hands to government and relinquish higher paying jobs for the betterment of society. Now these acts are so viciously scrutinized that we're probably going through a government finance brain drain without even realizing it.

    Completely agree. I see no problem with someone regulating the very same industry that made them wealthy. Doesn't seem like a conflict of interest problem at all. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulatory_capture[/q...

    Oh come on. Why is everyone always arduously pursuing every last "conflict of interest"? Now having experience in the field you are regulating is off-limits if you volunteer to take a huge pay cut and represent the government?

    "For all the tribulations in our lives, for all the troubles that remain in the world, the decline of violence is an accomplishment we can savor, and an impetus to cherish the forces of civilization and enlightenment that made it possible."

  • In reply to NorthSider
    SirTradesaLot's picture

    NorthSider wrote:
    FrankD'anconia wrote:
    econ_guru wrote:
    The endless critique of the 'revolving door' also puzzles me. It's been a long-established tradition in the US that experts in the private sector eventually, or at some point in time, lend their hands to government and relinquish higher paying jobs for the betterment of society. Now these acts are so viciously scrutinized that we're probably going through a government finance brain drain without even realizing it.

    Completely agree. I see no problem with someone regulating the very same industry that made them wealthy. Doesn't seem like a conflict of interest problem at all. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulatory_capture[/q...

    Oh come on. Why is everyone always arduously pursuing every last "conflict of interest"? Now having experience in the field you are regulating is off-limits if you volunteer to take a huge pay cut and represent the government?


    Because people don't like to punish their friends. It's the potential 'Code of Silence'. It's why cops don't serve on criminal juries. It's hardly "every last conflict of interst", it's an enormous conflict of interest.

    adapt or die wrote:
    What would P.T. Barnum say about you?

    MY BLOG

  • In reply to SirTradesaLot
    NorthSider's picture

    SirTradesaLot wrote:
    Because people don't like to punish their friends. It's the potential 'Code of Silence'. It's why cops don't serve on criminal juries. It's hardly "every last conflict of interst", it's an enormous conflict of interest.

    While I can see this as a concern, it is vastly outweighed by the benefit of experience. More importantly, I see no reason why a career regulator isn't equally as likely to make friends in the industry. Just because you're on the same side of the public/private wall doesn't mean you're any more likely to be friends. On the contrary, most lawyers find themselves as adversaries throughout their careers. It's a stretch to think that regulators have any fewer friends in the industry than do those in the industry.

    "For all the tribulations in our lives, for all the troubles that remain in the world, the decline of violence is an accomplishment we can savor, and an impetus to cherish the forces of civilization and enlightenment that made it possible."

  • In reply to NorthSider
    SirTradesaLot's picture

    NorthSider wrote:
    SirTradesaLot wrote:
    Because people don't like to punish their friends. It's the potential 'Code of Silence'. It's why cops don't serve on criminal juries. It's hardly "every last conflict of interst", it's an enormous conflict of interest.

    While I can see this as a concern, it is vastly outweighed by the benefit of experience. More importantly, I see no reason why a career regulator isn't equally as likely to make friends in the industry. Just because you're on the same side of the public/private wall doesn't mean you're any more likely to be friends. On the contrary, most lawyers find themselves as adversaries throughout their careers. It's a stretch to think that regulators have any fewer friends in the industry than do those in the industry.


    I'm friends/acquaintances with hundreds of wall st professionals. I'm friends with zero regulators. I think this is far more common. If someone were to switch from industry to regulator and put in harsh regulations, it would very likely destroy their social life because most of their friends are still on wall st.

    The reason a career reglator isn't likely to be friends with people in the industry is because your friends are usually people you work with and do business with, not people who are enforcing rules. Players are friends with other players, not refs.

    adapt or die wrote:
    What would P.T. Barnum say about you?

    MY BLOG

  • In reply to SirTradesaLot
    NorthSider's picture

    SirTradesaLot wrote:
    NorthSider wrote:
    SirTradesaLot wrote:
    Because people don't like to punish their friends. It's the potential 'Code of Silence'. It's why cops don't serve on criminal juries. It's hardly "every last conflict of interst", it's an enormous conflict of interest.

    While I can see this as a concern, it is vastly outweighed by the benefit of experience. More importantly, I see no reason why a career regulator isn't equally as likely to make friends in the industry. Just because you're on the same side of the public/private wall doesn't mean you're any more likely to be friends. On the contrary, most lawyers find themselves as adversaries throughout their careers. It's a stretch to think that regulators have any fewer friends in the industry than do those in the industry.


    I'm friends/acquaintances with hundreds of wall st professionals. I'm friends with zero regulators. I think this is far more common. If someone were to switch from industry to regulator and put in harsh regulations, it would very likely destroy their social life because most of their friends are still on wall st.

    The reason a career reglator isn't likely to be friends with people in the industry is because your friends are usually people you work with and do business with, not people who are enforcing rules. Players are friends with other players, not refs.

    But you're not in a compliance role, nor would you be very likely to be a candidate for a job as a regulator. The people who often do move over to regulatory jobs are compliance officers, counsels, lawyers and C-suite executives, all of whom have plenty of friends in Washington and vice versa.

    "For all the tribulations in our lives, for all the troubles that remain in the world, the decline of violence is an accomplishment we can savor, and an impetus to cherish the forces of civilization and enlightenment that made it possible."

  • stanvalchek's picture

    You guys are missing the point on the revolving door justice problem. It's not people going from Wall St. to regulation that's the problem, it's people going from regulation back to Wall St. A lot of regulators don't want to bring cases because they want to go back and work for the same firms they're supposed to be regulating.

  • In reply to stanvalchek
    NorthSider's picture

    stanvalchek wrote:
    You guys are missing the point on the revolving door justice problem. It's not people going from Wall St. to regulation that's the problem, it's people going from regulation back to Wall St. A lot of regulators don't want to bring cases because they want to go back and work for the same firms they're supposed to be regulating.

    That's a problem of government, and the only solution is to reduce its sphere of control. A limited government could do this country a world of good.

    "For all the tribulations in our lives, for all the troubles that remain in the world, the decline of violence is an accomplishment we can savor, and an impetus to cherish the forces of civilization and enlightenment that made it possible."

  • TNA's picture

    Government creates the problem and the solution is always more government t. I love it. The DOJ won't take down HSBC because it is tbtf, a concept created by an expansive nanny state.

    And money laundering wouldn't be an issue if there was never a war on drugs.

    Reduce federal power and influence and problems will disappear.

  • In reply to NorthSider
    stanvalchek's picture

    NorthSider wrote:
    stanvalchek wrote:
    You guys are missing the point on the revolving door justice problem. It's not people going from Wall St. to regulation that's the problem, it's people going from regulation back to Wall St. A lot of regulators don't want to bring cases because they want to go back and work for the same firms they're supposed to be regulating.

    That's a problem of government, and the only solution is to reduce its sphere of control. A limited government could do this country a world of good.

    We can and should limit government, but there still needs to be some one to police the finance industry, just as every other industry is policed. The current system we have does a piss poor job. A perfect example is that they couldn't bring a case against Madoff, who was pretty obviously a scam artist.

    Why not put in the SEC contract a non-compete clause that says you can't go back to work at any of the firms you'll be overseeing for 10 years? You might lose out on some talent, but it would probably weed out people who wanted to improve their resume and would not deter people who were truly interested in public service as a career.

  • In reply to stanvalchek
    NorthSider's picture

    stanvalchek wrote:
    We can and should limit government, but there still needs to be some one to police the finance industry, just as every other industry is policed. The current system we have does a piss poor job. A perfect example is that they couldn't bring a case against Madoff, who was pretty obviously a scam artist.

    Why not put in the SEC contract a non-compete clause that says you can't go back to work at any of the firms you'll be overseeing for 10 years? You might lose out on some talent, but it would probably weed out people who wanted to improve their resume and would not deter people who were truly interested in public service as a career.

    Trust me, if you put a 10-year non-compete in SEC contracts, you wouldn't miss out on some talent, you'd miss out on any talent that put any glimmer of a chance that they might want to return to the industry down the road. You might not consider that a bad thing, but 10 years is pretty much the remainder of your career.

    The problem isn't a lack of policing - the financial industry is the most regulated industry in the US. On the contrary, the problem is too much regulation. The government is so busy ensuring compliance with esoteric sections 10,000-page bills that they have limited resources to pursue leads on much more important initiatives like - oh I don't know - protecting investors.

    Also, for what it's worth, Madoff didn't slip through the cracks because of "too little regulation". The SEC investigated him multiple times and apparently failed to notice the smoking guns sitting all around the office. Indeed, the issue was that the regulators didn't know what to look for. Maybe - just maybe - if they had spent some time actually working in the hedge fund industry, they would have known what to look for. Or maybe they would have understood that a single call to the various counterparties Madoff claimed to be using would have exposed the entire fraud.

    "For all the tribulations in our lives, for all the troubles that remain in the world, the decline of violence is an accomplishment we can savor, and an impetus to cherish the forces of civilization and enlightenment that made it possible."

  • TheKing's picture

    The rationalization going on in this thread is incredibly depressing. Eddie, thanks for posting both videos. Great stuff for those of us that don't find cognitive dissonance to be a positive mind state.

  • TNA's picture

    Not sure the rationalization. Do you really thing the DOJ could make a case against a higher up at HSBC considering the jurisdictions and other elements? Furthermore, they were fined a record amount.

    I just don't see the outrage. If anything I am more pissed at the USA and our bullshit laws.

  • In reply to TNA
    TheKing's picture

    TNA wrote:
    King, what case would the DOJ have over UK HSBC executives. I mean do you really think the heads of HSBC knew about this shit? Mexican drug lords depositing cash in a Mexican bank?

    The bank messed up and got fined. One of the largest fines ever. Case closed. Banks are important. Morons getting busted with a crack pipe are not.

    We are not all equal. We are not all special. Some people have less value than others (myself included). Humans are essentially cattle with a voice box.

    The moron with a crack pipe doesn't affect anyone outside of his local sphere of influence, which is likely miniscule. Meanwhile, a global investment bank is laundering money for drug cartels and terrorists. Who is doing more harm to society?

    Real talk. The fact that you actively cheer for two sets of justice systems is incredibly depressing and indefensible from an intellectual point of view.

    Lastly. You could absolutely have some heads roll at HSBC or any of the big banks. Someone will take their place, of course, but they'll take their place knowing that if they do insanely illegal and stupid shit that they'll face actual consequences as opposed to paying a fine that is akin to the cost of doing business.

  • Edmundo Braverman's picture

    Don't even bother, King. The day is coming when, in the absence of real justice, street justice will be meted out to these types of people.

    I never thought I'd live to see the day where I'd welcome the destruction of my chosen field just to see the cancer cut out of it.

  • TNA's picture

    1) A person getting busted with a crack pipe is directly to blame. Easy case. A bank with multiple jurisdictions is not. Hence why the crack head gets jail time and HSBC gets a fine. I have no doubt there are criminal cases against the branches in Mexico. Maybe the Mexican bankers who set up the Caymen accounts. Possibly the midlevel people who should have caught this. But upper level people?

    Plain fact is 1) there is no criminal case and 2) if there was it would be tough at best. The were lax and got fined. Case closed.

    2) I do not support two levels of justice. I never said bankers or execs should be immune. I simply stated that cases are easier when you have direct evidence. If the CEO of HSBC was personally laundering money I would call for jail. That is not the case.

    This is nothing more than populace bullshit. The DOJ couldn't make a case and got a massive fine instead. Life moves on.

    Why shocks me is you cannot see the complexity of bringing a case against upper level management in an issue that involves Mexico, US, Caymen Islands and the UK, where the evidence is that they were understaffed or improperly monitoring money laundering and expect some form of conviction.

    The US government has every incentive to arrest bankers. It is popular fodder. The retarded masses would gleefully cheer anyone in a suit being strung up and god knows this administration would love to feed into the class warfare it loves to drum up.

    Morally, I couldn't care less. Drug laws are bullshit. The USA trying to force its backward and obtuse world view on global entities is disgusting. The DOJ (an oxymoron if I ever heard one) got $2B and walked away. I am sure that money will be used to drone strike a Pakistani family or something.

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