, Salem, MA


January 10, 2013

Column: Corporate cronyism, government capitulation

All through America, and for that matter, the Western World, there is the feeling that government, particularly the United States government, is just another organized crime group. There are some specific incidences that seem to glaringly verify that suspicion even more than others.

Take, for instance, the example of Jon Corzine, former CEO of the now-defunct MF Global. Corzine, also a former head of Goldman Sachs and former governor of (and senator from) New Jersey, testified that had no idea where $1.7 billion in MF Global depositors’ money had gone. He gave the classic Sgt. Schultz (“Hogan’s Heroes”) line, “I know nothing!” The collective agencies and investigators empowered to protect society stated, in harmony, on Aug. 16, “Your word is good enough for us, Jon.” They then dropped the whole investigation. Today, Jon Corzine heads up a whole new hedge fund!

If you think that’s bizarre, wait till you hear about HSBC Holdings. Since 2007, the Office of the Comptroller of the Treasury of the United States had noticed a massive suspicious cash flow emanating from HSBC’s Mexican branch and channeled into the U.S. and the 80 other HSBC branches around the world. The investigation disclosed that HSBC was handling cash transactions from rogue governments, known terrorist groups and drug cartels. Among the source locations around the world were Mexico, Iran, Sudan and Cuba, not to mention some known affiliates of al-Qaida.

On Dec. 11, 2012, with the full realization that HSBC had amassed $38 billion in profits over the last two years, U.S. Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer stated, “Our goal here is not to bring HSBC down. I wouldn’t say it’s too big to prosecute. I’m not going to say that. I don’t think that the bank thinks it got off easily.” HSBC was levied a $1.92 billion fine with deferred prosecution. Breuer said this would “send a pointed message to financial institutions that have been lax in weeding out bank activities for criminals and terrorists.”

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