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Sen. Warren: Drug Offenders Go to Jail, Big Banks Working for Drug Cartels Go Free

Regulators let HSBC, which admitted to laundering billions for drug cartels, off with slap on the wrist. Meanwhile, petty criminals and drug offenders face long jail sentences.

Jacob Chamberlain, staff writer

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) took bank regulators to task once again during a Senate Banking Committee hearing on Thursday—pressing U.S. officials over a blatant lack of prosecution for banks such as HSBC, who have been caught laundering billions of dollars for international "drug cartels".

Adding to her "too big for trial" criticism of the American banking regulation system, Warren stated:

What does it take, how many billions of dollars do you have to launder from drug lords and how many economic sanctions do you have to violate before someone will consider shutting down a financial institution like this?

While officials from the Treasury Department, Federal Reserve and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency squirmed in their chairs, Warren pressed them over the $1.9 billion settlement between HSBC and the DoJ over their money laundering charges—no bank official was criminally prosecuted over a plethora of money laundering charges; nor was their any discussion of shutting HSBC down.

Warren continued:

They did it over and over and over again across a period of years. And they were caught doing it, warned not to do it and kept right on doing it, and evidently making profits doing it.

The regulators in question, including David Cohen of the Treasury Department, evaded answering any of her questions directly.

Warren concluded:

If you're caught with an ounce of cocaine, the chances are good you're gonna go to jail. If it happens repeatedly, you may go to jail for the rest of your life. But evidently if you launder nearly a billion dollars for drug cartels and violate our international sanctions, your company pays a fine and you go home and sleep in your bed at night -- every single individual associated with this. And I think that's fundamentally wrong.

Watch Warren below:

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