+++ 29. August 2012 +++
Obama Administration Busy Protecting the Banks
The momentum for reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act is growing by leaps and bounds in the United States, spurred by the many, recent decisions of the Obama Administration not to take legal action against major banks and bankers, in spite of the glaring illegalities committed.
A case in point is the investigation into HBSC, which is known as the world's number one drug bank. According to published leaks, the U.S. Justice Department is concocting deal to let the bank avoid criminal prosecution by paying a fine of at least $700 million and perhaps as large as $1 billion. Such a fine, a small amount for a bank of HSBC's size, is a far cry from criminal prosecution and terminating the bank's license to operate in the U.S., which the Senate Permanent Investigations Subcommittee report, issued in July, suggested should be done (cf. SAS 31-34/12).
Many sources have now reported that as far back as 2009, the Obama Justice Department under Eric Holder decided it would not proceed against big banks, allegedly because the cases were unwinnable.
The outrage this has created that was reflected in a major editorial in the New York Times on Aug. 26 headlined "No Crime No Punishment", which condemns the Administration for refusing to criminally prosecute Goldman Sachs. "When the Justice Department recently closed its criminal investigation of Goldman Sachs, it became all but certain that no major American banks or their top executives would ever face criminal charges for their role in the financial crisis. Justice officials and even President Obama have defended the lack of prosecutions, saying that even though greed and other moral lapses were evident in the run-up to the crisis, the conduct was not necessarily illegal."
That characterization, the Times points out, "has always defied common sense." It may be difficult to prove wrongdoing, but it must be done, for example in the case of interest rate rigging. While there are various civil lawsuits against the banks for fraud, the editorial says, they rarely name top executives, and the fines "have been small compared with bank profits and banker bonuses."
After all these years, the Times concludes, "what is still needed are cases with convictions and settlements severe enough to deter future bad behavior. If institutions operating at the heart of the economy really cannot be held to account, the solution should be to break them up, not give them and their leaders a pass."
Although the editors do not mention by name the Glass-Steagall Act, they did do so in their editorial of last July 26, titled "The Big Banker's Change of Heart". In commenting at the time the sensational endorsement of GS by Sandy Weill, the former CEO of Citigroup, they admitted that they had also been wrong in 1999, when they supported repeal of the Act.
What the New York Times could have added to its Aug. 26 editorial is the need to set up a tough commission similar to the 1933 Pecora Commission, to hold public hearings on the wrongdoing and illegalties, thus creating popular demand for criminal action.
~ deutsch + english ~
+++ 24. Mai 2013 +++
Pope Francis Calls for Financial Reform
Two months after his election, Pope Francis has spoken out forcefully against the dictatorship of the financial markets, which is reducing humanity to misery. Speaking in front of the ambassadors of K...
+++ 24. Mai 2013 +++
Bundestag Passes Phoney "Bank Separation" Law
On May 17, the German Bundestag passed a bank restructuring bill touted by the government as the "first bank separation law passed in Europe." In fact, the law is a far cry from what the government cl...