August 15th, 2012
07:00 AM GMT
(CNN) – Everything is “fine” (and more fines) for some big global banks these days.
Barclays has agreed to pay $453 million in fines for the Libor scandal, charged with manipulating key lending rates.
Now Standard Chartered has agreed to pay $340 million to New York regulators for years of conspiring with Iran to avoid U.S. sanctions and laundering $250 billion in transactions over 10 years.
But where are the criminal charges? As an attorney who used to work in enforcement with the U.S. Treasury told Lake, “This is absolutely indefensible. When someone other than bank officials willingly, knowingly, repeatedly does this kind of conduct, they go to jail.”
Rather than face prosecution, there is a rising chorus of complaints that wrongdoing in the banking industry has become merely the cost of doing business with little criminal risk or brand-killing ramifications. As Lake asks, “Name one other industry where that’s true?”
Have we moved from too big to fail, to too big to prosecute?
UPDATE: More trouble for major banks. As CNNMoney reports, a who’s who list of banks – Barclays, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, Royal Bank of Scotland and UBS – have all received subpoenas into the manipulation of Libor, the world's benchmark interest rate, according to a source with knowledge of the investigation.
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