NY State is seeking to revoke the banking license of UK bank, Standard Chartered, for a long running conspiracy to do business with Iran and hide it in violation of US law.
Thwarting controls against money laundering, Standard Chartered Bank enabled Iranian banks and corporations to hide roughly 60,000 transactions worth at least $250 billion within the bank, New York State’s banking regulator charged Monday.
The New York State Department of Financial Services accused the British bank, which it called a “rogue institution,” of hiding the transactions to gain hundreds of millions of dollars in fees from January 2001 through 2010.
Under United States law, transactions with Iranian banks are strictly monitored and subject to sanctions because of government concerns about the use of American banks to finance Iran’s nuclear programs and terrorist organizations.
The highest levels of management knew that Standard Chartered was deliberately falsifying records to allow billions of dollars in transactions to flood through the bank, according to the regulatory filing.
Why does it take a state banking regulator to uncover these crimes and do something about them? As usual, US bank regulators and the worthless, do nothing US Justice Department stand silent. The Obama Administration’s refusal to enforce the law when it comes to financial crime is not just negligent and incompetent. It is contributing to the dissolution of our society and is criminal in itself. The question now is whether the “friends in high places” within the US Government will move to defang the action which New York State filed today. It has done it before. Look no farther than the mortgage servicing settlement.
This Administration’s failure to pursue and prosecute the massive criminal frauds that were the root causes of the credit bubble and financial collapse, and that continue to this day, have been persistent and willful. The Federal Government encourages and promotes that behavior by administering no more than wrist slaps to the offenders. Absurd and pitiful civil settlements for the most egregious violations have only come about when State regulators have taken action first. The Federal Government refuses to hold top executives of the criminal conspiracy personally liable for criminal sanctions. This blanket “Get Out of Jail Free” card is the reason why no person who believes that the current crisis is a failure not of policy but of ethics and morality, should support the re-election of Barack Obama.
Unfortunately, Mitt Romney would no better. In fact, he could be worse. A man who will not release his tax returns is hiding something that he’s ashamed of. Criminality and shameful behavior run rampant in the political establishment. It does not matter whether they are Democrats or Republicans. Punishment must begin somewhere. First things first, we must stop rewarding criminality.
The American people must wake up and begin to say no to wrongdoing. We must continue to say no until the message sinks in. If the revolving door between the corporatist criminal syndicate and government is not shut down, our death as a civil society is assured. We must recoil at the deeply embedded criminal culture that we ourselves have tolerated, allowed, and even promoted and participated in, before we can have real, effective change. We must keep firing politicians until they get the message and clean up their acts. Otherwise there is no hope.
Conditions may well worsen before they get better, but if we don’t start cleaning up our own act, start demanding ethical and honest behavior of ourselves, and start firing people who don’t toe that line, then the process of societal and cultural decomposition will become permanent, if it hasn’t already. If we don’t throw the current bums out, then it’s probably already too late. We must demand accountability now.