How Many Billions Of Drug-Laundered Money Does It Take To Shut Down A Bank?

Tyler Durden's picture

It's an odd question, we know - especially ahead of today's Stress Tests, but given today's testimony on assessing the bank secrecy act, apparent trouble-maker Elizabeth Warren pokes and prods (correctly we would add) at the surreality that exists between the Department of Justice, The Treasury, and the financial system. David Cohen, Tom Curry, and Jerome Powell dodged bullets and blame, "does that mean essentially we have a prosecution-free zone for large banks in America?" But Warren wasn't going to be fobbed off with useless banter as she pointed out, "if you're caught with an ounce of cocaine, the chances are good you're going to go to jail... for the rest of your life. But evidently, if you launder nearly a billion dollars for drug cartels and violate our international sanctions, your company pays a fine and you go home and sleep in your own bed at night - I think that's fundamentally wrong." Indeed Ms. Warren.

 

Here is the transcript - note the Treasury officials never actually answer anything...

WARREN: ... As Senator Reed just pointed out, the United States government takes money laundering very seriously for a very good reason. ...

 

Now in December, HSBC admitted to money laundering. To laundering $881 million that we know of for Mexican and Colombian drug cartels. And also admitted to violating our sanctions for Iran, Libya, Cuba, Burma, the Sudan. And they didn't do it just one time. It wasn't like a mistake. They did it over and over and over again across a period of years. And they were caught doing it. Warned not to do it. And kept right on doing it. And evidently making profits doing it.

 

Now HSBC paid a fine, but no one individual went to trial. No individual was banned from banking. And there was no hearing to consider shutting down HSBC's activities here in the United States. So what I'd like is, you're the experts on money laundering. I'd like your opinion. What does it take? How many billions of dollars do you have to launder for drug lords and how many economic sanctions do you have to violate before someone will consider shutting down a financial institution like this? Mr. Cohen, can we start with you?

 

COHEN: Certainly Senator. No question the activity that was the subject of the enforcement action against HSBC was egregious...

 

WARREN: But let me just move you along here on the point Mr. Cohen. My question is, given that this is what you did, what does it take to get you to move towards even a hearing? Even considering shutting down banking operations for money laundering?

 

COHEN: Senator, we at the Treasury Department under OFAC and (ph) authority, we don't have the authority to shut down a financial institution...

 

WARREN: I understand that. I'm asking, in your opinion, you are the ones who are supposed to be the experts on money laundering. You work with everyone else, including the Department of Justice. In your opinion, how many billions of dollars do you have to launder for drug lords, before somebody says, we're shutting you down?

 

...

 

WARREN: ... And I'm asking, what does it take, even to say, here's where the line is. We're going to draw a line here, and if you cross that line, you're at risk for having your bank closed?

 

...

 

COHEN: But I'm not going to get into some hypothetical line drawing exercise.

 

WARREN: Well it's somewhere beyond $881 million of drug money.

 

COHEN: Well Senator the actions, and I'm sure the regulators can address this issue. The actions that we took in the HSBC case, we thought were appropriate in that instance.

 

...

 

WARREN: So what you're saying to me is you are responsible for these banks, and again, I read your testimony and you talk about the importance of vigorous enforcement here. But you're telling me you have no view when it's appropriate to consider even a hearing to raise the question of whether or not these banks should have to close their operations when they engage in money laundering for drug cartels?

 

...

 

WARREN: I understand that I'm over my time. And I'll just say here, if you're caught with an ounce of cocaine, the chances are good you're going to go to jail. If it happens repeatedly you may go to jail for the rest of your life. But evidently, if you launder nearly a billion dollars for drug cartels and violate our international sanctions, your company pays a fine and you go home and sleep in your own bed at night. Every single individual associated with this. I just, I think that's fundamentally wrong.

(h/t Manal Mehta)

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yogibear's picture

The attorney general, Eric the Placeholder,  will never prosecute the big banks and throw someone in jail for breaking the law.

CEOs,  Eric Holder has you the green light to even commit murder. The laws don't apply to you!

gould's fisker's picture

We've entered some bizarre fucked up kaleidoscope of a parellel universe when real questions start to be asked of the bankster facilitators in a congressional hearing.  So next up they'll start using drones as getaway planes for the guilty unindicted stealing scumbags.  Free Jon Corzine!

nmewn's picture

lol...yes...it is a strange world indeed, illegal drug users rooting on Warren for, not so much the drug lords or the importation of the drugs or even the street level dealer or the violence surrounding it...but the profit made on the illegal drugs.

Why, there should be a law or sumpin ;-)

gould's fisker's picture

Indeed.  Here's more grist for the kaleidoscope, Senator Kirk's reaction to the witnesses non-answers to questions posed at the hearing: 

"I just want to -- to -- based on what we have learned today from Treasury, for our Senator Warren to join me in a big bank of a money laundering practice where we just handled drugs and terrorism, I think we can make a killing that way and no danger of prosecution.  Yeah, that's -- yeah. That's great, yeah. Nothing to fear from -- from the government."

otto skorzeny's picture

Kirk was put into office by the same Chicago Jew $ machine(Pritzkers,Crowns-General Dynamics) that put Obama and Durbin in power. Kirk is a functioning retard that votes whatever way he is told to and is probably "buddies" with Lindsey Graham.

nmewn's picture

Its an exclusive club...and we ain't in it.

I guess what galls the shit out of me is, partly what Warren attempts to say, a poor crackhead goes to jail, a rich senators/judges/mayors/bankers etc. son snorting lines of coke never will.

When the biggest thieves are the ones making & enforcing law there is no fair definition of justice.

 

gould's fisker's picture

I really don't care how or what motivated these two to say what they did today--I would have paid them to say it if i had the connections and the dough.  The contrast between the usual drivel and just a couple of sentences that somewhat reflect what has been happening, and being done to this country should send people down on their heads with pitchforks and all the other acoutrements, but that's what happened when we collectively had balls and roared rather than bleeted BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA.

ImReady's picture

I suggest Ms Warren... stay out of the hot tub, not fly in any small planes, not take up rooftop Astronomy. 

Rot-10's picture

I'm not quite ready to trust Ms Elizabeth.  Her string is attached to the same puppet master as the big eared guy in the big white house.

 

Wakanda's picture

Liz, you be rockin' my world!  Ever heard of the RICO act?

Tango in the Blight's picture

Just pledge your support for the politicians re-election fund and pick up your Get Out Of Jail Free card.

RebelDevil's picture

All talk and no action, as John Perkins has proven.
Any politician that trys to change the system in any way against the bankers gets hammered!

bugs_'s picture

drug-laundered money or laundered drug-money

i know the money is covered with drugs

can dogs smell the cocaine on bitcoins?

I am a Man I am Forty's picture

That's fucked up that people go to jail for having cocaine.

A Nanny Moose's picture

Some are convicted for it, then re-elected to office.

thewayitis's picture

DId we really expect anything different? The US  is run by bankers. Arrrg

spinone's picture

Money which is printed by the FED and distributed to the primary dealer banks is used to run the US.

 

There, fixed it for you

notquantumdum's picture

It's all about campaign contributions.

Even though, I support unlimited political contributions for everyone, but only if they're immediately posted for all to see, just who supported whom and how much.

LeisureSmith's picture

I suspect Elizabeth Warren has been reading Rolling Stone and one Matt Taibbi lately. However, my Trust O Meter remains unimpessed. For now.

newengland's picture

MA is the Commonwealth.

Mind your own, and we will do ours.

I dislike the NDAA and drones, but make your mistakes if you must.

Ms Warren is our kith and kin.

Your probem: 

We have self sustaining land and money.

CONgress is bankrupt.

Drone on. Pet.

spinone's picture

RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO  RICO

McMolotov's picture

SUAVE SUAVE SUAVE SUAVE SUAVE SUAVE SUAVE SUAVE SUAVE SUAVE SUAVE SUAVE SUAVE SUAVE SUAVE SUAVE SUAVE SUAVE SUAVE SUAVE SUAVE SUAVE SUAVE SUAVE SUAVE SUAVE SUAVE SUAVE SUAVE SUAVE SUAVE SUAVE SUAVE SUAVE SUAVE SUAVE SUAVE SUAVE SUAVE SUAVE SUAVE SUAVE SUAVE SUAVE SUAVE SUAVE SUAVE SUAVE SUAVE SUAVE SUAVE SUAVE SUAVE SUAVE

 

newengland's picture

Quite . It is wrong that HSBC money launnderer has no board room prosecuiions.

Jail 'em.Dont ball em.

Ms Warren.

 

Cape Cod Five Cents Bank has done no wrong. 

CONgress. 

ebworthen's picture

Is Jamie Dimon calling himself the Sun King yet?

ziggy59's picture

maybe the banksters are sleeping with the see eye aie ...u know  the ones that oversee the growing of poppy in afghanistan, etc

Yen Cross's picture

 It's not about quantity. It's about quality!  Just ask  NAoR.   They will gladly launder your money (cigarette wrappers) for you.

Bastiat's picture

I'm surprised Cohen didn't reach into his shirt, put his palm under his armpit and flap his elbow to make fart noises.

joego1's picture

I listen to this and wonder why the sheeple don't go ape shit crazy on these mother fuckers. I think I live in a dream.

gould's fisker's picture

Many people are having their smartphones surgically implanted in their frontal lobes, others are disinterested and not paying attention to any newsworthy events, and then there's this:

http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2013/03/07/officials-80-percent-of-recent-nyc-high-school-graduates-cannot-read/

So, generally speaking, most people will not notice the categorical demonstration that they have been fucked and fucked again the last ten years or so and the market will go up tomorrow.  Probably speaking.  And the only certainty is that with our invasion of the body snatchers mentality the totality of uz is fucked.

 

Jena's picture

80 fucking percent of NYC high school grads can't read?

Oh, wait... that would be 80% who wish to go on to higher education must get remedial reading help before entering the City University's community college system.  Probably better than  most of California.

Still bad.

gould's fisker's picture

Agreed, but you gotta go with what's on the news-sites that particular day, ya know?

Yen Cross's picture

 If your're employed by JPM? According to a whale I know, It's about $5b. I live in SouthPark, so I just kill Kenny when SHTF!

 

Bingfa's picture
otto skorzeny's picture

Cusack has been hammering on O for years now after realizing he was used by O to get in office in '08

newengland's picture

Not good enough. All these wage slaves have forsaken their own.

Crash Overide's picture

Cusack

Lane Myer: Johnny... 
Johnny: Four weeks, twenty papers, that's two dollars. Plus tip. 
Lane Myer: Gee Johnny, I don't have a dime. 
Johnny: Didn't ask for a dime. Two dollars. 
Lane Myer: Well... it's funny see... my mom, had to leave early to take my brother to school and my dad to work cuz... 
Johnny: ...two dollars... cash. 
Lane Myer: See... the problem here is that... my little brother, this morning, got his arm caught in the microwave, and uh... my grandmother dropped acid and she freaked out, and hijacked a school bus full of... penguins, so it's kind of a family crisis... so come back later? Great. 

newengland's picture

Here is the news that grifts off U.S.

Your problem. O'bomba is a freak product, shiney shoe shine boy of the Trilateral Commission, and its Nazis.

Warren is an ingenue, easilly manipulated, like most Irish. She'll take her place and money...or not. Time tells.

Yen Cross's picture

  I thought John Cusak was " Better OFF Dead" after his last rant. It seems he might be redeemable.

 

     I want my (2) dollars...

newengland's picture

Dear Yen,

These poiitical types steal.

notquantumdum's picture

Two dollars!

Or, is it more now?

notquantumdum's picture

Thanks for posting this.  I had forgotten how funny it was.