Home | About | Donate

Hold Bankers Accountable for Their Crimes


Hold Bankers Accountable for Their Crimes

Katrina vanden Heuvel

Last week, Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch announced that five major banks were pleading guilty to criminal charges for what she described as a “brazen display of collusion” to manipulate the currency markets.


Now that corporations have rights and court redress but can not be jailed it is time to strip the protection of incorporation and make the CEOs, managers and shareholders responsible for their actions.


Systic ping.


In 1990 the five too-big-to-fail banks held 10% of assets in the US, in 2008 they held 25% when they crashed the global economy and were “rescued” by putting US taxpayers on the hook for $16 trillion (General Accounting Office Report GAO 11-696, page 131).

Since 2008 the Washington DC politicians have enabled the five banks to grow 40% and now hold 44% of assets, assuring that the next crash and “rescue” will cost US taxpayers considerably more than $16 trillion. The Democrats will continue to race the GOP to privatize Social Security and Medicare to fund the next “rescue”.


“The unwillingness to hold bankers accountable for their frauds and crimes is a great and continuing failure of our justice system, one that poses a clear danger to this country in the years ahead.”
It’s not a failure of our justice system, it’s criminal aiding and abetting of an ongoing criminal enterprise by the administration and the DOJ! Quit coddling these corrupt corporate conspirators MS. vanden Heuvel!


They used to say, “The handwriting is on the wall.” Well, it’s been there a long while now, and our
government has no apparent desire or plan to correct the situation. The 1%, which is the banks and
the big corporations, has exactly what it wants, with no intention of permitting any change. No one
capable of initiating correction will be allowed a position of power within this present government.
That’s where we now stand with no help, also pleasing to the plutocracy. We actually have two
countries; theirs and ours.


Like the NRA is wont to say that guns don’t kill, people kill, we should realize that corporations don’t commit crimes or cheat people, people commit crimes and cheat others. Fining the corporation does nothing to deter continuing white collar crime, particularly when the people who made the decisions involving the transgressions are never charged, are not held personally responsible for the fines and restitution, and often even get bonuses in the year that the incidents occur. Instead the corporation pays the fines/restitution and corporations can’t go to jail. The corporation then charges its customers and/or withholds dividends to shareholders enough to cover the cost of the fines and restitution. The customers and shareholders played no part in making the day to day decisions that got the corporation into trouble but are held financially responsible while the real criminals are not prosecuted.
It’s time that CEO’s and other executives/managers are held responsible for the decisions they have made, have to personally pay the fines and restitution, and if criminal behavior is involved, be prosecuted.


To make matters worse, the corporation’s customers and shareholders are often the victims of the crimes. We then have a situation in which the victims end up paying the penalties, and are revictimized.


High executives of too big to fail corporations is all industries are very much part of our RULING CLASS. They are untouchable! Horrible, but all too true. Other than that, it makes sense to fine corporations and at least get some federal revenue from them, reducing the need to fleece the middle class.


Ooooh, these megabanks were forced to pay about a billion apiece for their massive crimes. OUCH! That musta really hurt! Not. What a sham. This is another Washington, DeCeit dog and pony show, folks. Just an illusion of accountability. These gangsters are enjoying record profits and Wall Street is usually above 18,000 which is a record. NOTHING has changed and there will be no real accountability or reform. Just remember what Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs once said - “We are doing God’s work.” I guess God is that Supreme Hedge Fund Manager in the Sky.


Sorry, Grace, but this is the kind of “fine” that they laugh at, all the way to the bank.


SO maybe we need LARGER fines–more in proportion with their income.


This is the fundamental problem. Corporations are individuals, but no one dares to say it. They are not some wicked bot, some extra-animate being, some form of soulless humanoid. They are human beings, greedy and corruptible flesh and blood. Corporate law (established of, by, and for the corporations by our government at the behest of powerful men) protects the individuals who suck the life out of workers, externalize their costs, and exploit non-renewable resources. It should have never been allowed. Think of the world without corporations, realize how different it would be and try to feel like it could happen. To understand who has power and who does not, you only need to look at who gets jailed and who gets shot.


Remove every human connected to running this tool and see how alive and human they are.


Exactly my point, nineteen50. Corporations are incorporeal. Nothing but paper; smoke and mirrors. Seems like it would be simple to overthrow the paper tiger. NOT! They are embedded and enabled. Their management, boards of directors, and large amounts of money wield enormous influence and power in society and government. Those people ought to be held accountable when the acts of the corporate entity they operate damages the environment or breaks the law, but they seldom are. Just think how differently they might act if they were not protected by corporate law.


This topic gets me so angry, so frustrated, so upset. We have had the right and the means to take these banksters down, break them up, and get this mess fixed. Instead, we’ve pampered them, powdered them, patted them dry and then sent them on their way to do the same thing all over again and again and again. Our LEADERSHIP decided this. This was no accident. Obama could have taken on this issue, but he chose to give them a towel, and tell them to dry off and get dressed, and start their day off right, with another take down of America. He knowingly, willingly allowed them to continue their law breaking. Nothing to stop them. No JUSTICE for American Citizens. I have never felt so completely lied to by a President since Nixon.


Obviously UNITED STATES national government can NOT afford another bank bailout like the last one. Next time: 1) let the bailout take the form of buying some of the bad receivables at some fraction of their face value–maybe even force banks to mark down to market value the receivables they hold. If that wipes out the net assets of the bank–then 2) break up the bank and sell pieces of it to smaller, better run banks of those assets written down to market value and, 3) encourage the bank’s shareholders to sue the executives found to be guilty of fraud. If shareholders are too chicken to sue, then they lose whatever they put into it when they bought their stock.


Yes, look what Kennedy got–at least two Kennedy s. I suspect every President at least since Kennedy has been under a death threat from the super rich politically well connected. However, it would help if we could take the attitude that FDIC is for the benefit of depositors only–not shareholders or employees of banks.