The "FinCen Files" story reveals: getting caught not only doesn’t stop the world's biggest banks from moving dirty money, it may encourage them
"Buzzfeed said some of the documents had been gathered as part of the congressional investigation into Russian interference, while-" /silenced gunshots
Gee, financial crime in an economy that is increasingly financialized is no longer criminal, merely a civil offense, making it nothing but a cost of doing business.
Just jail a couple of the big executives of these banks and put them in a cell with Bubba serving a long sentence, with the people who guarded Epstein's cell in charge, and put the live feed into all the big bank board rooms and see if compliance improves.
I have to laugh at the "woke" crowd who were weeping and applauding at the Jaime Dimon picture where he's kneeling in seeming allegiance to BLM. I chuckled reading about Obama era hero who shall not be criticized Eric Holder and his role in all of this buttressing the Big Banks.
The woke progressive hive mind never seems to understand that the wokesters at the top of the pyramid don't believe any of that bullsh!t. It's all a show.
Only Taibbi and a few other left leaning types call them out. It's like one big combination of circus and Kabuki theater.
Thank you for the update on this Matt. It brings to mind three things.
First, I am still interested to hear whatever happened to the NJ Judge Salas who's husband was shot and her son killed by Roy Den Hollander. Apparently, she was about to rule on an issue for Deutsche Bank - will some of the findings to be made public, I believe. I wish there was a listing of institutional infractions that was not written in legalese but appeared upon a lobster bib called Vampire Squid or something.
Second, the panoply of banking (private, corporate, and federal/sovereign) institutions need to be humiliated to such an extent (i.e. Wells Fargo or Merrill Lynch but much worse) that no one does business with them again without having a John Malkovich sized wormhole in their brains - reminding them daily - in the voice of Teddy KGB -- "they are goin to stichh it you, no?" Their brand must be rebranded by the popular public to the same level of Tylenol aspirin in the mid 80s or toxic shock mini pads. Its time to do some damage to the industry like Big Tabacco.
Third, at the same time, we need some smart-minded younger people with some ethics and bravery to fulfill the promise of public banking (as a utility), and not as a means to screw people over. You may say that I am a dreamer, but I am not the only one. Public banking's time has come --- build institutions that work and do not defenestrate the working class, and we could see them spread, ideally faster than the current cancer of metastatic money for the capital class.
«While credit card companies are able to detect fraud and banks are able to detect suspicious activity thanks to technological advances, the government lacks the same capability, in part perhaps because the reporting system is not automated.»
I think our author is rather naive here: the security services (NSA, FBI,CIA, etc.) know *everything* about who is doing what financially. an example:
(from Damian McBride "Power Trip", 2013, page 124):
“In all the controversy in June 2013 over the US security services accessing people’s social media interactions through the PRISM system, it’s often forgotten that they had since 9/11 been accessing details of most of our ﬁnancial transactions through the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication system (SWIFT). [ ... ] But it also raised uncomfortable issues around America’s potential access to the private finances and spending records of prominent politicians and businesspeople around the world. All that made this a difficult secret for Gordon and the Treasury to be sitting on, even more so when Mervyn King, the Bank of England Governor, was informed. [ ... ] At that precise moment, Mervyn’s conscience told him that he had a duty to blow the gaff on the SWIFT deal, and tell the British people that the CIA had — with the Treasury’s connivance — been secretly accessing that ﬁnancial data.”
Obviously the UK security services had always got a realtime copy of the London SWIFT flow, and I would be quite sure that the USA security services had the same for New York transactions (and in both countries obviously the security services have a realtime copy of their central bank's and every banks transaction flows). There is absolutely zero banking/financial secrecy in every modern country, the governments know everything.
I would suspect that the security services are very reluctant to share any information they have on illegal/smelly transactions because every one of them is an opportunity for blackmail, which is one of their main tools.
Next year will mark the 30 year anniversary of when I took a sociology class during my freshman year at the University of Pittsburgh called "Deviance and Social Control." As the name implies, it was about deviant behavior, and one of the topics we covered was about drug abuse. My professor at the time, Donald Gibson, brought up the issue of money laundering and how the banks are the ones who really control the drug trade, and how they often get slapped on the wrist when they are caught. It saddens me to think that nothing has changed since that time.
Earth to Matt! Earth to Matt! Too soon for a celebratory nap. Finish the piece.
Great article. Just one note, Sinaloa and Mexico are in North America not Central America.
For every major industry there is at least one correspondingly large regulatory agency full of employees whose jobs rely on their ability to impose fees for doing business and fines for doing business the wrong way.
The real-world functions of regulatory agencies are fourfold, in order: 1) fund themselves from fines and fees paid by the major players in the industry they regulate; 2) act on behalf of the bigger industry players to deter smaller, more innovative industry players; 3) fund the pet projects of corrupt local governments and 4) provide the illusion of democracy in action for an illusory free press to report.
For my money, function #3 above represents the greatest present danger to American democracy because it pours hundreds of billions of dollars (approximately $250B of financial settlement money and $246B from the tobacco companies so far) of largely uneamarked cashflow, and creates budgetary dependencies that can only be replenished by the imposition of more regulation via an unspoken symbiotic alliance between lawmakers and lawbreakers.
Per the above, the entire state regulatory apparatus is rife with moral hazard. Mussolini, who knew a little something about fascism, once defined it as "...corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power." That's why the biggest socialists/communists tend to be the biggest fascists: precisely because they regulate everything. The biggest single industry in any fascist/socialist state is the regulation industry.
There is another interesting detail that merits some review: some years ago there was a discovery that in many cases various big companies had backdated huge grants of share options, to make sure that the receiving executives got them at well below market price.
This was being investigated as a false accounting fraud, but it also involved massive tax fraud, because only genuine options involve a favourable "capital gains" tax rate, backdated ones count as ordinary income and have to be taxed at the income tax rate. Indeed the very purpose of backdating the stock option grants was to evade taxes.
The amounts of tax fraud were billions of dollars, well into criminal tax fraud territory, and the criminal cases were open-and-shut, because there was a clear documentary trail of who had granted and who had received the fraudulent options. Probably given how many were involved the racketeering laws could be invoked.
How many of those executives went to prison?
Is it not past time to plainly state the nature and intent of banking behemoths is the globalization of serfdom for all of mankind?
Criminals and rogues , in non-quarantine times, attend baseball games and Broadway shows, buy automobiles and life insurance. The libertarian argument here is that banks take deposits and make loans. Attempting to identify which customers are "bad guys" asks banks to do something they are no better equipped to do than are other business vendors. What makes a bank a reasonable proxy actor for a US government function ? That is, why does this entire argument matter ? If it's the depositors who are criminals, why not use the bank records to assist prosecutions of the criminals ? Why and how do the banks become accessories to the criminal acts of depositors? I'm not suggesting there are no good answers to these points -- but it's not prima facie, just something we can take for granted.
The bankers and their bought/paid for politicians continue to play the American people for suckers...what’s new?
article cuts off. this happens a lot. please re send complete piece
Article cuts off at the end?