Too Big To BNProsecute: How Yet Another Criminal Bank Got Away With Just A Slap On The Wrist

Tyler Durden's picture

Remember when the DOJ's banker lackey, assistant attorney general Lanny Breuer admitted to PBS that the US department of justice (sic) does not prosecute big banks because they are too systematically important and thus, above the law? Breuer was promptly fired (only to rejoin Covington & Burling as vice chairman and head the firm's white collar defense practice) and with his departure the DOJ was said to have "fixed" its practice of giving banks, the more massive and insolvent the better, not only a "get out of jail" card but "do not even enter the courtroom" card. Ironically, all of the DOJ's subsequent wrath fell mostly on foreign banks (with domestic banks actually benefiting from the addback of "one-time, non-recurring" legal charges to their non-GAAP bottom line). It goes without saying, that not a single banker has still gone to jail since the infamous Too Big To Prosecute incident, suggesting it was all, once again, merely lip service to so-called justice.

But nowhere is it clearer that nothing at all has changed when it comes to crony capitalist behind the scenes muppetry, than in the latest Reuters exclusive of the white glove treatment "evil" BNP got in order to make sure the full wrath of US justice doesn't damage the criminal money launderer too severely.

An official at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) broke ranks with other commissioners, and voted against granting BNP Paribas a critical waiver to continue operating several investment advisory units in the United States.


Kara Stein, a Democratic SEC commissioner who has recently demanded more accountability for big banks who break the law, was the sole dissenting vote on Monday on the temporary waiver, according to a document made public this week.


BNP's application was granted the same day that BNP, France's largest bank, pleaded guilty to criminal charges it violated U.S. sanctions.


The temporary waiver will become permanent, unless an "interested person" in the matter is granted a hearing. The deadline for requesting a hearing is July 25.


The SEC rarely denies such waivers because such a move risks destabilizing financial firms.

Which all leads us to this:

The New York state banking regulator on Monday separately decided not to pull BNP's banking license in the state, despite a criminal guilty plea, because of the risk it could put BNP out of business.

And as is well known, we can't risk a bank going out of business because of its criminal actions, now can we. As for actually sending someone to jail? Don't make us laugh.

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The Alarmist's picture

They weren't so shy about pulling the licence of the 7th largest bank in the US in 1999 and forcing it into the arms of a foreign buyer for offences that were trivial compared to what BNP, HSBC, GS, etc. have done in the last few years.

WeNeedaRealGovt's picture

1999 we had a Non-Repub president.  GOP is the every-time-we-rip-you-off party.  Dems only some of the time.  Go back to Faux and get some more good facts...

CheapBastard's picture

Prosecutions are for the little peeple.

max2205's picture

They begged to not have 7 trillion in pension assets taken away too...and won

That's what really pisses me off

nidaar's picture

Since there is no remaining doubt that they are above the law, why shouldn't banks just confiscate any deposits without even any excuses. They don't even need bail-in laws. What can any individual do against them any more? Sue them?

JmanSilver.Gold's picture

LOL another liberal moron muppet. punch-drunk on straight D koolaid.

Remington IV's picture

Really ... who's in office now , Einstein ???

RaceToTheBottom's picture

Yeah and 1985 was really different too with many banksters getting penalized for their crimes.  Now, nothing.  

So, if your point was that present day banksters don't get penalized, then I agree with you.  

If you are instead saying penalizing a Bankster in 1999 means the law is being followed, then you are a Bankster  apologist and deserve to be treated as they should be treated.

SpanishGoop's picture

I must be a stupid European but i still do not understand this part.

France's largest bank, pleaded guilty to criminal charges it violated U.S. sanctions.

 F* u Americans.


LawsofPhysics's picture

What?  No dinner and a movie?  Fuck me, no, no no, fuck you.

(don't worry, they will pay with freshy printed benny bucks - but you already know that, dont you asshole?)

SpanishGoop's picture

I am European so already Fucked BIG TIME and more is coming i think.


(Yes, thank you very much)

NOTaREALmerican's picture

You have to remember this is America.   Admiting to "criminal charges" is only punishable IF you're a peasant or other member of the Trash Class.   We can't have the people who made Merica the greatest country in the entire world sitting in jail SIMPLY because they bent of few rules here and there.   

Leonardo Fibonacci2's picture

Hey SpanishGoop, i dont't get mad, i get stabby!  Spaniard bitch!!

SpanishGoop's picture

Wrong, just a Dutch guy who didn't fled far enough.


goldpercent's picture

I'm not sure Americans equals U.S.

The U.S. government is out of pocket.

How is yours doing?

How about F* u U.S. government.

And F* u every other government.


StandardDeviant's picture

On the off chance that it's a serious question...  While BNP is indeed a French bank (with an HQ in London), it operates in the US as well.  These charges relate to transfers to New York banks from countries subject to US sanctions.

buzzsaw99's picture

they are all criminals

WeNeedaRealGovt's picture

But you vote Red anyway and expect good results, don't ya'?

Sarah P would have been great!

hangemhigh77's picture

They can't put them out of business then they wouldn't be able to get their cut of the booty through bogus lawsuits and fines.  It's all just distribution of ill gotten gains.  Govt. is just taking their cut.

LawsofPhysics's picture

"Let them eat cake" - Christine Lagarde

radiobomb's picture

didnt Christine say ; " let them eat Soylent Green" ?

moneybots's picture

"Let them eat cake" - Christine Lagarde


Lagarde wants to forcibly expropriate 10% of everyone's cake to repay public debt to the bankers and that is just for starters.



Joebloinvestor's picture

I think it is kind of odd that the US seems to be the only entity to be able to find and prosecute.

The UK and French regulators are worthless.

The Swiss? LOL

Is this the reason behind the push to drop the dollar as a reserve currency?

Wait till that happens and then NO ONE can do anything to a bank.


LawsofPhysics's picture

The common man in 'merica fought the Germans for the french.  looks like his children and grandchildren will have to fight the Fed for them as well.

Analyse2's picture


"The common man in 'merica fought the Germans for the french"


The Americans like to believe it to glorify themselves, but this is a myth - History rewritten by Hollywood. While France was fighting since September 1939, the US entered in the war only in December 1941 (2 years and 3 months later). And it was only in response to the declaration of war against them by Germany and Italy, after Pearl Harbor. The Americans didn't even think of "saving the French", they came to Europe because it was better to fight their enemy in Europe than in America. France fell in June of 1940, and the landing in Normandy didn't occur before June of 1944, after other landings in North Africa, Sicilia and Italia.


Analyse2's picture

But, on the way they liberated France, and most Fench are still grateful for that. It is why they invite American representatives every year to the memorial in Normandy for the remembering of D-Day June 6, 1944.

On the other hand, the 5,000 sailors of the French Navy who died for US Independence at the battle of the Chesapeake are still waiting for their memorial in Washington And I have never heard that French representatives were formally invited to the celebrations of the Yorktown victory (where half of the fighters were French soldiers led by the Comte de Rochambeau), or at the 4th of July celebrations … Pitiful lack of memory.

mrpxsytin's picture

It might have something to do with the USA trying to blackmail France into not fulfilling the contract with Russia for those Mistral class ships:

swmnguy's picture

When corruption and criminality are the open policy of government, is it even corruption and criminality anymore?  I mean, I understand that the laws apply to me, because I am a private individual and do not make enormous campaign contributions.

tradewithdave's picture

Risk and return... Zero risk, zero return.

In other moral hazard news... The Himpton Doctrine got its own Wikipedia page and the timing of Marc Rich's death and the Jon Corzine lawsuit were proved to be entirely coincidental. Now... back to The Shanghai Cooperation Organization for a full explanation of whatever happened to the HKMex by former members of the LBMA and further insight into the sudden resurrection of the Deutsche Bank balance sheet to Basel 3 once that "gold thing-a-ma-jig for your furnace" was finally put to rest.

WeNeedaRealGovt's picture

Vote repub GOP TEA and get back to the business of $Trillion dollar wars and perpetual job loss.

22winmag's picture

Now do you doubt me when I tell you that prosecutors offices and DA's offices are the minor league affiliates of major league politics?


You have to master spoken likes (like any good attorney) in order to make it on the political stage.

Leonardo Fibonacci2's picture

Monsieur Bonafe, CEO of BNP still wants his 2014 bonus.  Not shy, the little french fuck!!  3,8 million euros = $5.5 mil US.

Give him a baguette bread and put him in jail.  Why?  Because he helped Sudan where genocide was committed & supported by BNP Paribas through the  executiion of wire transfers in US Funds!  As Tony Soprano would say, BASTA!


radiobomb's picture

typical - same every time.  If you steal billions, or even trillions you can keep it. If you steal food to stop starving you are prosecuted.  Great model.  Beacon of fairness & justice.  outstanding work by the regulators. Fantastic moral tale here to disuade other giant financials  from doing the same thing [barclays, hsbc, jpm, GS, et al]....

oh, wait, sorry, - that moral message meant to read - "steal as much as you can or we might prosecute, if you havent stolen enough."


you couldnt make this shit up...

Da Yooper's picture

oy such a problem

vee are above de law

ebworthen's picture

"License to Shill"

fostermike1's picture

I doubt that BNP's US banking license is even worth the $9 billion fine.  BNP was nailed by the US because its Swiss office conducted financial operations that were perfectly legal in both Switzerland and France.  The only thing outrageous here is the extent of US arrogance.  If Francois Hollande had any balls, he would have told the US to shove it by forbidding BNP from settling the suit by admitting any guilt or paying any fine.  Then there might have been a banking war between France and the US, but that would be a good thing (for Europe and for the rest of the world). An opportunity lost on account of lack of vision.  What do we think DeGaulle would have done in this situation?

Downtoolong's picture

The New York state banking regulator on Monday separately decided not to pull BNP's banking license in the state, despite a criminal guilty plea, because of the risk it could put BNP out of business.

This is the bankster world equivalent of a battered housewife saying, “I wanted my husband to stop beating me, but, I was afraid if I confronted him he would leave me.”

FredFlintstone's picture

The banks are the husband, but we are the beaten wife and the regulators are the mistress.

luckylogger's picture

I have said this since 2008....

Line all the ceo's of the 30 biggest banks operating in the US and have a firing squad shoot a few at random.............

Problem solved.................

The one thing they love more than money is themselves...........

moneybots's picture

"Too Big To BNProsecute: How Yet Another Criminal Bank Got Away With Just A Slap On The Wrist"


What slap on the wrist?  The tax payers were extorted out of 700 billion dollars by Goldman Sachs. 

In addition, the tax payers have been further indebted to the tune of 5, 6, 7... and counting trillion, for the benefit of the bankers.


No bank has yet to be slapped on the wrist, as more and more tax payer money is pumped into them,  than the pretensive fine that is laughed about all the way back to the bank.

d_taco's picture
This article is the worse article I have ever read at ZeroHedge. The writer has no idea what he is talking about or is deliberate attempt to misinform the public.


BNP is Bank number 23 punished for doing business with Cuba.  These fines are a criminal punishment resulting in the illegal siege of Cuba. A siege is an act of war. Cuba is a peaceful country that is no thread to the US!


This financial misuse of power by the US is not gone unnoticed in Europe by those with knowledge of the matter. Even at the ECB top people are now publicly wondering if we should phase out the dollar as world currency!!!