Dan Majestic writes from Washington: So there you have it, folks: Big Brother in America has finally figured out that banks handle dirty money as well as perfectly legal cash. Yep, serious people in Home Security and on Capitol Hill are now gunning for the biggest European bank, HSBC, promising to impose a huge fine on it for moving suspicious funds in large amounts for years.
The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has concluded that HSBC Bank USA has ‘exposed the US to Mexican drug money’ and other suspicious funds. It was revealed, among other things, that HSBC Bank Mexico sent $7 billion in cash, in armoured vehicles, to HSBC in America between 2007 and 2008 alone. Senators are now demonstrating that they are not prepared to pussyfoot. The HSBC is looking at a possible fine of $1 billion.
But let me ask you this: how come it is only now that politicians and spooks in Washington have realised that drug syndicates and other groups of hardened criminals channel money through banks. Especially as it has been known for a while now that the Mexican drug cartels alone have a collective turnover of something like $40 billion a year. Wasn’t it logical to assume that a lot of this money was channelled through banks including the ones on US soil as most of the Mexican s..t is sold north of the border. Otherwise how would you explain the luxury villas and yachts and other trappings of success of the Mexican drug lords that they obviously don’t buy for hard cash.
And it’s a bit a rich of American politicians to send alarm bells ringing after decades of inaction, targeting not the big American banks but a European one, as if it’s the only culprit. Are we to assume that Big Brother is only going after non-American banks? Because if the US government has decided to make a big fuss out of nailing money men who deal in dirty cash then they’d better check what is happening in their own part of the woods as well. Otherwise, it would all look like a ‘trade war’ rather than an attempt to control the free flow of dirty cash through the banking system.
And another thing that seemed a bit odd about that Senate committee’s reports on HSBC: how come it picked on transactions from Mexico and Russia and did not mention any groups from other countries where there are a lot of dodgy dealings going on. How about Albania, for example, or Rumania or Italy or China or Japan, with their powerful criminal groups operating on a huge scale and moving vast amounts of money all over the world. And what about the mob in the US itself? Now that is a pretty powerful force that turns over hundreds of billions a year. Where is the dogged determination to get to the bottom of where these guys bank?
Big Brother in America is mighty selective in delivering its own brand of justice, be it choosing dictators who don’t suit its agendas anymore while leaving other tyrants alone, or fighting international crime while somehow ignoring the culprits in its own back garden. So it would be nice to see some even-handedness for a change in pursuing banks that handle dirty cash.