Is HSBC Really ‘Too Big to Jail’?

March 12th, 2013

Via: Yahoo Finance / The Exchange:

In December, HSBC (HBC) admitted to money laundering violations covering $200 trillion worth of transactions involving Mexican and Columbian drug cartels, groups allegedly aligned with terrorist organizations, sanctioned nations and others. The Department of Justice (DoJ) explained it could not exact a penalty greater than one month’s profits because doing so would cause systemic repercussions to the financial system. In shorthand, HSBC was “too big to jail.”

On March 6, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder affirmed the “too big to jail” policy:

“I am concerned that the size of some of these institutions becomes so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are hit with indications that if you do prosecute, if you do bring a criminal charge, it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy. And I think that is a function of the fact that some of these institutions have become too large.”

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