Heather Lowe, Director of Government Affairs at Global Financial Integrity and the Task Force, is writing a serious of posts on the horrible crimes that HSBC has admitted to as part of its deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. government. No one will go to jail from HSBC for these crimes.
What’s important to remember is that money laundering is not a victimless crime. Real people were hurt by HSBC, and they deserve justice. And when law enforcement officials decline to do their job and prosecute people who committed heinous crimes, it only sets the stage for another round of money laundering by the world’s biggest banks.
Yesterday, Heather continued to write on this topic at Trust Law. In a thought-provoking, at times gut-wrenching, op-ed, she writes,
HSBC agreed last month to pay the U.S. government $1.9 billion to settle a probe into widespread money laundering facilitation by the New York branch of Europe’s largest bank. But, this is not mere money we are talking about; it is the daily gang violence on the streets of our cities and towns, it is the increased likelihood that your children will be offered drugs in their schools, it is the abduction of children and selling them into the sex trade. Authorities estimate that the average annual income generated from a trafficked child is $200,000 per year. That money has to be laundered somewhere, by someone.
Money laundering is taking the proceeds of crime (“illegitimate” money) and bringing it into the legitimate financial system so that the criminals can use that money without being tied to those terrible crimes – crimes like manufacturing and distributing drugs, selling people into the sex trade, trafficking in illegal weapons, and selling knock-off, unsafe products like toys with high levels of lead paint into the marketplace.
You can read the read of the op-ed on Trust Law here.
Disclaimer: Unless specifically stated to be the views of the Task Force, the opinions expressed on this blog are solely the opinions of the individual blogger and are not necessarily those of the Task Force on Financial Integrity & Economic Development.