Tuesday, June 23, 2015

How to Punish Bank Felons

Posted on Jun 22, 2015

By Robert Reich
Robert Reich

How to Punish Bank Felons

SATURDAY, JUNE 20, 2015


What exactly does it mean for a big Wall Street bank to plead guilty to a serious crime? Right now, practically nothing.

But it will if California’s Santa Cruz County has any say.

First, some background.

Five giant banks – including Wall Street behemoths JPMorgan Chase and Citicorp – recently pleaded guilty to criminal felony charges that they rigged the world’s foreign-currency market for their own profit.

This wasn’t a small heist. We’re talking hundreds of billions of dollars worth of transactions every day.

The banks altered currency prices long enough for the banks to make winning bets before the prices snapped back to what they should have been.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch called it a “brazen display of collusion” that harmed “countless consumers, investors and institutions around the globe — from pension funds to major corporations, and including the banks’ own customers.”

The penalty? The banks have agreed to pay $5.5 billion. That may sound like a big chunk of change, but for a giant bank it’s the cost of doing business. In fact, the banks are likely to deduct the fines from their taxes as business costs.

The banks sound contrite. After all, they can’t have the public believe they’re outright crooks. Read more here:  http://robertreich.org/post/122011081135

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