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Taibbi: HSBC got away with murder

In the latest issue of Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi takes the Justice Department to task over settling with HSBC late last year in the "largest drug-and-terrorism money-laundering case ever."

"The HSBC case went miles beyond the usual paper-pushing, keypad-punching­ sort-of crime, committed by geeks in ties, normally associated­with Wall Street," he writes, "In this case, the bank literally got away with murder – well, aiding and abetting it, anyway."

The lengthy post details how the bank again and again flouted cease-and-desist orders from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to cut ties with Islamist militant groups and drug trafficking operations in Mexico. For years, the OCC did not more than the "take deep breath, strap on its big-boy pants and . . . issue a second cease-and-desist order!"

Taibbi notes why the eventual criminal investigation ended with a fine (of "$1.9 billion, or about five weeks' profit") and not any jail time or fines for individuals involved:

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