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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Senator Elizabeth Warren wants to know what it would take to shut down a big bank guilty of engaging in money laundering for drug cartels.

HSBC admitted in court late last year that it helped launder $881 million for Mexican and Colombian drug cartels, along with continually violating sanctions on Iran, Libya, Burma and the Sudan. Though the bank paid a $1.2 billion fine, not one bank employee has faced criminal charges related to the trafficking.

The London-based bank is still operating in the United States.

In a hearing entitled “Patterns of Abuse: Assessing Bank Secrecy Act Compliance and Enforcement,” Warren continually asked Treasury officials a version of the same question: “How many billions of dollars do you have to launder for drug lords and how many sanctions do you have to violate before someone will consider shutting down a financial institution like this?”

Treasury officials asserted that they do not have the power to shut down a financial institution. They said that power belongs to the Fed and such an action would be be triggered by a criminal conviction, which would be have to be pursued by the Justice Department.

Attorney General Eric Holder, the head of the Justice Department, told a Senate committee Wednesday that the size of big banks “has an inhibiting influence – impact on our ability to bring resolutions that I think would be more appropriate.And I think that is something that we – you all – need to consider.”

And this is why the big banks never wanted Elizabeth Warren in the United States Senate.

(Hat tip to David Dayen.)

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36 responses to “WATCH: Elizabeth Warren Asks What It Would Take To Shut Down A Big Bank”

  1. I think I may love this Woman… Balls of steel and not afraid to ask the correct types of questions. If an individual had committed similar crimes, they would have been locked up and the key would have been tossed.

    Sickening that these “too big to fail” institutions are also too big to prosecute.

    • nobsartist says:

      I think it would be interesting to find out how Ford was smart enough to borrow 26 BILLION from Goldman Sachs exactly 1 year before the economy collapsed, all because of Goldman Sachs and their CDS scam.

      It would seem to me that if I was a bank selling garbage, I would give my ex-college room mate tips that perhaps the crap that Blankfein was selling was going to wreck the economy enough where people might not be buying cars for awhile.

      But instead of investigating, Obama gave Ford 12 years of no profits on taxes and an extra BILIION for “electric car development” and other “studies”.

      Obama is the best republiCON president we have had since they killed the Kennedy’s.

    • TZToronto says:

      And an ordinary person gets into trouble trying to bring more that $10K into the country for fear of money laundering. A big bank can launder $881 million and not get criminally charged. Hey, if corporations are people, why can’t they be charged criminally like people? (A number of years ago, I went to an HSBC branch in Toronto and tried to open an account that could be accessed from an HSBC branch in Paris. They declined, saying that I’d need a 3-year banking history with HSBC in order to do that. I should have said that I was a Colombian drug lord.)

    • TheSkalawag929 says:

      I know I do.

    • 1bythebrooks2 says:

      Ditto what you said. She is intellegent, does her homework, asks the tough questions! Keep the pressure on, Ms. Warren!

  2. So if the Justice Department does nothing the United States is actually a party to the crime of money laundering, and also whatever illicit action supplied the laundered money!!!

    • nobsartist says:

      Add conversion, extortion, murder and fraud to the list. Any government that advocates trampling the Constitution, ignores the Bill Of Rights and the Geneva Convention is simply another criminal organization.

  3. idamag says:

    Elizabeth Warren is one great lady. She was fighting the banks before she was elected senator.

    • Pete2099 says:

      They have spent a h… of a lot of money and power to keep Warren out.
      In this case the people have won.
      Now we have to start doing this with the rest of these corporate owned
      We should start lining up the candidate to run in the primary election and
      bring this nation back to the people.

    • neeceoooo says:

      And we need her to continue to do what she does best. I would love to have her as president but she is so good at what she does right now.

  4. There are no laws in place for the Dept of Justice to prosecute, the Israel lobby AIPAC protects Banks, Wall St. Big Oil, Corp. welfare and low taxes on billionaires. All while hiding behind skirts of the Sequestering republican party, or Conservatives, lol

    • nobsartist says:

      That is exactly correct. Except there is the Sherman Act which Obama could use to break them all up except for the fact that he is in bed with them.

  5. Pete2099 says:

    Warren shows one just how straight forward a investigation , prosecution and conviction is.
    By doing this she tell everyone that they are REFUSING to do it.
    Is there any elected officials which are not on the take.
    So there is NO elected official which will investigate or prosecute them
    SO this proves beyond any shadow of doubt they own this nation.
    So they control who will run for office , who will win the elections
    and if anyone attacks them , they just head & their shoulders , look dumb
    And play dead…

    • plc97477 says:

      they don’t control who wins elections although they do try. If they did control who wins do you really think Elizabeth Warren would be where she is.

  6. Aleksandra says:

    i think she’s securing millions of votes.. Don’t stop!

  7. Things like these happen more often than we think, and the culprits have been getting away with murder with impunity. Take, for instance, the Koch brothers admission that they have been doing business with the Ayatollahs. Not only were they not interrogated or punished for violating existing sanctions, the media barely mentioned it and most Americans remain unaware that such thing happened.
    These things happen when we deregulate industry, when our laws are designed to protect the wealthy and powerful, when a complicit media is too afraid to say the truth, when government is incapable of confronting special interests, and when an ignorant population is too lazy to search for the truth and do something about it.
    Clinton-Warren 2016

    • CPAinNewYork says:

      I voted for Obama, because I cannot stand the neocons, but I must admit my disappointment with him and his phony attorney general.

      Obama talks a good game, but he doesn’t do anything about curbing the excesses of big business. “Too big to fail” had some validity, but “too big to prosecute” is pure baloney. Obama should get off of his ass and tell his attorney general to start the prosecutions.

  8. nobsartist says:

    Maybe she should start by asking Obama. He took enough money from bankers to understand how to shut them down and when the statute of limitations ran out on those criminals.

    No banks will be closed. This is just more theatrics and with wall street regaining all of its losses and madly celebrating, there will be NO banks shutting down.

    Understanding how United Health Care donated money to Obama explains why instead of shutting down the failed republiCON health care system, he forces all of us to purchase “insurance” from these criminal organizations.

    Obama is looking more like condeliza’s long lost brother every day.

  9. TheSkalawag929 says:

    The Justice Department and the departments in charge of overseeing the banking industry is full of cowards.

    They won’t answer Ms. Warren’s question: “When would it be appropriate to bring charges?”, because they don’t want to answer the obvious next question. Why haven’t you brought charges yet?

    • mah101 says:

      No, I think it is even more fundamentally flawed than that. They don’t even understand the question. The issue of shutting down banks, when that may be appropriate and when to discuss it with Justice, is completely off their radar. Otherwise, how can you explain the total “deer in the headlights” response of Treasury folks testifying before the committee? They simply do not even understand the premise of the question…

      So apparently the answer is, “if the Justice Department pursues a criminal case against the bank then we will pull their charter upon conviction”. However, it never occurs to Treasury to recommend criminal prosecution to Justice, so the case doesn’t proceed. No recommendation, no prosecution. No prosecution, no shutting down the bank… Seems either purposely designed to avoid prosecutions or else it is a great example of Catch-22

      • TheSkalawag929 says:

        I disagree. The Treasury Dept. totally understand the question as does the “Justice” Dept..

        The problem is a lack of intestinal fortitude by the heads of both departments and that includes Atty. Gen. Eric Holder.

        The premise of the question is crystal clear. These people are lawyers. They have passed bar exams and are authorize to practice law in the districts that they hang their shingles.

        Anyone going to community college for a para legal degree is expected to know when a law is broken. How can these people not be held to that same standard?

        What is apparent is the BS being spread on the bread and it’s being called peanut butter.

      • CPAinNewYork says:

        They understand the question. They won’t prosecute because they’re being paid off.

        When government fails, then we’re one step closer to changing that government.

  10. Jim Myers says:

    We need an unlimited supply of Elizabeth Warren clones.

    She has more guts than any Senator or Member of the House of Representatives that I can recall.

    No wonder she was opposed so vigorously before she was appointed to the Senate Banking Committee.

    Can you imagine her heading up an agency, or agencies, devoted to weeding out waste and corruption in all areas of government?

    What about the regulatory agencies that have become nothing more than the poster boys for industrial businesses?

    Or the Military?

    There is no end to the good she could provide our Nation.

    I see a very strong case for Clinton – Warren in 2016.

  11. elw says:

    Another example of the very exact same thing is the big Pharmaceutical Corporations; when they break regulations, change the results of drug trials and push drugs for unapproved uses they are fined, no one goes to jail and no company is shut down. They actually budget for the fines, consider them the cost of doing business and keep doing the very same things over and over again. The lying, cheating and stealing will only stop when the individuals in charged pay with more than money, money is the one thing they have so much of than no size of a fine really hurts. I say break them up, it time to put “honor and morality” back into business. You go get them Elisabeth.

    • CPAinNewYork says:


      Business never had “honor and morality” and I doubt that it ever will.

      • elw says:

        I should have used the word “big” in front of business. I find the most smaller local business people are more honest and those who are not soon lose enough business they do not survive. I make a point of buying local and used so I do not support corporate America anymore then I need to.

  12. Lovefacts says:

    Warren proves we need new leadership at the FED, Justice Dept, and Treasury Dept. And as much as I support Obama, he needs to grow a set.

  13. JDavidS says:

    Big banks may not want her there but any sane-thinking person is damned glad she is there.

  14. Kevin Smith says:

    There are other ways to compel bank CEOs to comply. Here’s a story. Some 30 years ago a palestinian terror group took a Russian embassy official hostage. In response, the KGB located the terrorist leader’s mother, cut off one of her thumbs (or some say an ear), and sent it to the terrorist leader. He released the Russian hostage immediately. Very effective. Bank CEOs are terrorists, too.

  15. Pamby50 says:

    I was upset when they didn’t let her run the Consumer Protection Agency she developed. Then the call went out to get her to run for senate in MA. She got in the race & the rest is history. I am so glad she is on the banking committee. She will keep asking why to big to fail is to big to trial.

  16. idamag says:

    With the resources to do so, the banking industry has taken over our government. One thing in their favor, is the new idea that ignorance is a virtue. Critical thinking is not taught in the schools. For awhile, instead of learning to think, they were learning to pass tests. That, alone, put intelligence back twenty years. Now, we have a sick, backward nation whose people defend their ideology by refusing to hear and ponder any views that might be different from their own. We have slipped near the bottom in education compared with other industrialized countries.

    Education should be a number one priority.

  17. idamag says:

    Teddy Roosevelt did not let the banks get too big to fail.

  18. idamag says:

    Teddy Roosevelt did not let the banks get too big to fail.

    • CPAinNewYork says:

      Teddy Roosevelt was right when he accused the big business moguls as being “malefactors of great wealth.” They are truly criminals in every sense of the word and should be put in jail.

  19. 1standlastword says:

    We already know about the feckless nature of the Obama Department of Justice. White collar criminal prosecution under Obama just have not happened and they won’t!!!!

    She should be grilling Eric Holder’s porkchops!!!!!!!

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