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Taibbi on HSBC: Blood Money

Posted by Larry Doyle on February 15, 2013 7:22 AM |

There are few writers today who hit as hard as Rolling Stones’ Matt Taibbi. That is a good thing for those who actually care about free market capitalism, let alone a sense of moral decency.

Two months ago, the European based bank HSBC was hit with a $1.9 BILLION fine for allowing — if not promoting — its operations to be used as little more than a laundromat by a host of very unsavory characters for a protracted period. Huge story, right? RIGHT!

Where are the major media outlets to dig in, unearth the dirt, clean out the residue in this laundromat, and bring the unbridled truth to the public? I will tell you where the media is: in the tank.

Leave it to Taibbi to make the contacts and expose the dirt, the grime, and the blood that was (is?) HSBC. In a Sense on Cents classic, Taibbi writes>>>>>>>>>

The deal was announced quietly, just before the holidays, almost like the government was hoping people were too busy hanging stockings by the fireplace to notice. Flooring politicians, lawyers and investigators all over the world, the U.S. Justice Department granted a total walk to executives of the British-based bank HSBC for the largest drug-and-terrorism money-laundering case ever. Yes, they issued a fine – $1.9 billion, or about five weeks’ profit – but they didn’t extract so much as one dollar or one day in jail from any individual, despite a decade of stupefying abuses.

People may have outrage fatigue about Wall Street, and more stories about billionaire greedheads getting away with more stealing often cease to amaze. But the HSBC case went miles beyond the usual paper-pushing, keypad-punching sort-of crime, committed by geeks in ties, normally associated with Wall Street. In this case, the bank literally got away with murder – well, aiding and abetting it, anyway.

Nothing shocks me anymore on this topic, but there are few exposes that I have read that go so far as this in detailing just how deeply embedded criminal elements penetrated a major money center bank.

This is a MUST read. Hats off to Matt Taibbi for writing Gangster Bankers: Too Big to Jail.

He takes some nice shots at UBS, as well. Why would anybody STILL want to do business with these  institutions?

They’ve changed? Read the story.

I thank the reader who brought this story to my attention.

Larry Doyle

Isn’t  it time or overtime to subscribe to all my work via e-mail, an RSS feed, on Twitter or Facebook.

I have no business interest with any entity referenced in this commentary. The opinions expressed are my own. I am a proponent of real transparency within our markets so that investor confidence and investor protection can be achieved.


  • Always Learning

    Elizabeth Warren makes the “Too Big for Trial” point. Watch Elizabeth Warren Embarrasses Hapless Bank Regulators At First Hearing.

    • fred

      From Taibbi post earlier today…

      Warren is not the first to express concern that the SEC is settling too many cases before going to trial.

      U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff, based out of Manhattan, has thrown out two huge settlements between the SEC and Citigroup and the SEC and Bank of America.

      Rakoff has argued that settling without a trial was not in the public interest. The SEC, he said, “has a duty, inherent in its statutory mission, to see that the truth emerges.” And that means taking some cases to trial.

      Emphasis mine.

      • fred

        I nominate Judge Rakoff to the SOC Hall of Fame? We’ll hold back judgement on Ms. Elizabeth until the rhetoric turns to action.

        LD, you post Primers, Blog Roll, and Watch Dogs how about posting the “SOC Hall of Famers” with twitter, web site links,etc.?

        There seems to be many more visceral, personally directed, “alternative” posts here on SOC post election; do you think this is the result of a liberal empowerment movement post election or a coordinated attack by liberals against conservative media outlets and personalities?

  • Peter Scannell

    “The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business organization representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions. Our members range from mom-and-pop shops and local chambers to leading industry associations and large corporations. They all share one thing in common—they count on the Chamber to be their voice in Washington, D.C

    U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Business Civic Leadership Center (BCLC) reported today that businesses have pledged more than $38 million towards relief efforts.

    Twenty five companies so far have pledged $1 million or more in resources. The companies include: Abbott; Bank of America Foundation; BNY Mellon; Capital One Financial Corporation; The Citi Foundation; Coca-Cola Company; Enterprise; Disney; FedEx; General Motors; The Home Depot Foundation; HSBC; JPMorgan Chase; Kohl’s; Lowe’s; Mercedes Benz; Morgan Stanley; NBA; News Corporation; New York Life; NFL; Time Warner; Toyota; Viacom, Inc.; and Wells Fargo.”

    Now the question begs, what level of depravity would a business need to commit to be disqualified from being promoted by the United States Chamber of Commerce?

    Has the United States Chamber of Commerce ever kicked any organization out for reprehensible business practices?

    Where are the political leaders in Washington D.C. denouncing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce representing the likes of a HSBC?

    Are there not fiduciaries and institution investors who are precluded from doing business with the likes of HSBC?

    The United States Chamber of Commerce and others willing to look the other way so as to continue to collect the ill-gotten gains of some of its member organizations is equally as sickening as behaviors documented in Taibbi’s expose.
    No I will go vomit.

  • Peter Scannell


    Dependable, and doing the right thing

    At HSBC we put great emphasis on our values. We want to ensure that our employees feel empowered to do the right thing and to act with courageous integrity. By doing so we will meet the expectations of society, customers, regulators and investors.

    Our values describe the character of HSBC and reflect the best aspects of our heritage. They define who we are as an organization and what makes us distinctive. By operating in accordance with our values we are:


    Standing firm for what is right, delivering on commitments, being resilient and trustworthy.

    Taking personal accountability, being decisive, using judgement and common sense, empoweing others.

    Open to different ideas and cultures

    Communicating openly, honestly and transparently, welcoming challenge, learning from mistakes.

    Listening, treating people fairly, being inclusive, valuing different perspectives.

    Connected to customers, communities, regulators and each other

    Building connections, being aware of external issues, collaborating across boundaries.

    Caring about individuals and their progress, showing respect, being supportive and responsive.

    To ensure that everyone who works at HSBC lives by these values we have made them a key part of every individuals annual performance review.

    “By setting the highest standards of behavior our aim is that all of our employees and customers can be proud of our business”

    Stuart Gulliver, HSBC Group Chief Executive

    What a bunch of crap!

  • Pontiff

    I agree with my good pal Larry Doyle, it’s important for the truth to be exposed and reported. Here is the latest from the TBTH (To Big To Be Honest) Church:

    If ANY institution/Church assists sexual predators of children, becomes an accessory to sexual crimes against children, harbors sexual predators as they KNOWINGLY move them from parish to parish to parish, to abuse children AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN, and then hides and destroys Church documents which prove/verify those crimes from Police, what should we call that “said institution/church”??? I leave it to the wise Larry Doyle to describe such a Church. I won’t bother asking anyone why he would BELONG to it.

  • Pontiff

    I should have added, it in fact should not be HIDDEN and/or IGNORED by ANYONE with a….how did Mr. Larry Doyle word that one phrase….?? Oh yeah, “a sense of moral decency”.

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