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Thursday, 07 March 2013 09:04

Holder Admits That Department of Justice Believes Big Bankers Are Above the Law

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MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT    cell210

On Wednesday, March 6, US Attorney General Eric Holder testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, admitting that the Department of Justice believes that Wall Street financial titans are too big to jail.  According to the American Banker,

Holder told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the size and interconnectedness of some institutions has "made it difficult for us to prosecute" in some cases, in response to a question from Grassley, the panel's lead Republican, about the HSBC deal.

"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 we do prosecute — if we do bring a criminal charge — it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy," said Holder, who cautioned he was speaking generally and not about the HSBC case specifically. "I think that is a function of the fact that some of these institutions have become too large." (Italics added by BuzzFlash at Truthout.)

Addressing bank size is something lawmakers in Congress would "need to consider," he added.

In essence, the chief law enforcement officer of the United States conceded that he cannot uphold laws governing financial fraud and manipulation in regards to those who run large financial entities. His argument is that holding individuals criminally accountable for imploding the economy would endanger the economy.  Say what?  Isn't Holder just giving them further license to plunder away?

Holder's response to the Senate Judiciary Committee came about in a discussion of the hefty fine applied to HSBC for what would appear to be multiple criminal violations of the law, but not accompanied by any charges against individuals.

BuzzFlash at Truthout has repeatedaly chastised the Department of Justice (DOJ) for its ongoing disregard for enforcing the law when it comes to Wall Street.  Regarding HSBC, one of our commentaries was "When Big Banks Like HSBC Are Not Prosecuted Criminally, It May Be Killing Us":

Matti Taibbi has a devastating article in Rolling Stone on how the soon-to-be-departed head of the Department of Justice (DOJ) criminal division, Lanny Breuer, admits that the DOJ won't prosecute banks too big to fail, such as HSBC and UBS – among many others.  Why?

Because as Taibbi quotes Breuer: "Our goal here is not to destroy a major financial institution."

Breuer also justified overlooking criminal activity at HSBC (and by implication other banks that have been given fines that amount to slaps on the wrist) with the reasoning that criminal activity must be tolerated to ensure that the international financial/banking system is not disrupted: "Had the U.S. authorities decided to press criminal charges," said Breuer "HSBC would almost certainly have lost its banking license in the U.S., the future of the institution would have been under threat and the entire banking system would have been destabilized."

BuzzFlash has written multiple commentaries on the injustice and danger of not prosecuting banks and bank officials who knowingly engaged in fraud, laundering money for terrorist-related banks and individuals, being bankers for drug cartels, and having financial dealing with nations under boycott by the US government (e.g., Iran).   But, as we reported and Taibbi reconfirms, the US has a double standard that allows banks who engage in such activity to do so with impunity, while the individuals who are considered terrorists by the executive process, without due process, are targeted for assassination (and are killed along with an unrevealed numbers of collateral damage civilians)....

BuzzFlash at Truthout has lacerated the DOJ and regulatory agencies for treating financial firms as if they were the clients of the US executive branch – instead of these executive branch divisions serving the interests of the American people. As far as HSBC, we bluntly headlined a December commentary: "The New 007 License to Kill: HSBC and Big Banks". Prior to that, we posted, "HSBC: Big Bank Executives Not Prosecuted for Narco Blood Money Laundering as Tens of Thousands Die."

In the past few weeks, we have offered commentaries, including: "When US Doesn't Prosecute Wall Street Fraudsters, Taxpayers Get the Blowback"; "Consigliere Lanny Breuer, Head of the DOJ Criminal Division, Leaves Without Prosecuting One Made Man on Wall Street"; "The Covington & Burling Trio Overseeing the Department of Justice Criminal Division: An Injustice"; and "Treasury Approved Bonuses and Raises for Wall Street Bankers Who Tanked Economy," among other BuzzFlash commentaries.

BuzzFlash at Truthout also offered other commentaries on the dangers of the DOJ not criminally big banks and their executives for conducting financial activity that not only could result in a repeat of the cratering of the US and European economies in 2007-8, but also condone financial enabling of terrorism and narcotics trafficking: "The New Untouchables Are Wall Street Executives, Despite Evidence Many Likely Criminally Violated Sarbanes-Oxley Act"; and "Abusive Practices That Shortchange Investors Continue at Bank of America, New Documents Allege." 

Now, the attorney general of the United States has formally confirmed to the Senate Judiciary Committee why his departing head of the criminal division, Lanny Breuer, did not prosecute one single Wall Street executive for fraud that devastated the economy.

Think about the implications of Holder's statement and the DOJ and Obama administration's tacit decision not to pursue cases against individuals in too big to fail financial institutions.  Think about the standard it sets when as a matter of policy, individuals can get away with crimes of incalculable impact upon so many lives -- and to the welfare of the United States.  In essence, the executives who run these behemoth financial enterprises are too powerful to be subject to the laws of the United States of America regarding financial transactions – and now their crimes are committed with global impact.

Yet, we throw kids into jail for selling reefer.

As BuzzFlash at Truthout commented yesterday in "More Marijuana Arrests in US Than Apprehensions for Violence in 2011: A National Disgrace," "it is a tragic farce that is maddening enough to make you reach for a double shot of bourbon, on the rocks."

Eric Holder has earned the right to be referred to as the attorney general for the Department of Injustice.  

(Photo: the_kid_cl)