BORN FREE: Someone asked me yesterday why no one was even indicted when US Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer signed off on a $1.9 billion settlement with British banking giant HSBC for systematically laundering gazillions of dollars of international drug cartel money.
We'd told her we'd heard some mumbo-jumbo about how the people who worked apparently claimed they didn't see- or didn't want to see- anything out of the ordinary as they processed specially-made boxes of cash precisely the size of the opening in the tellers' windows.
Matt Taibbi goes into some depth today comparing the disparity between the punishment of the kingpins and the guy who gets jacked up and caught with a joint in his pocket (guess which one goes to jail).
But he answers the question in question by quoting the NY Times:
"Federal and state authorities have chosen not to indict HSBC, the London-based bank, on charges of vast and prolonged money laundering, for fear that criminal prosecution would topple the bank and, in the process, endanger the financial system. "
That's right- it's because they're TOO BIG TO JAIL.
Maybe that's why, unlike some, I'm not really all that thrilled sometimes when I wake up in the morning and Barack Obama is president.