Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone contributing editor, and “Viewpoint” host Eliot Spitzer react to news that the U.S. Department of Justice and other federal and state authorities have opted not to indict HSBC on criminal charges of money laundering. The British bank has reached a deal to pay a settlement of $1.92 billion.
“The decision to not prosecute in this instance belies everything that the government has ever done with regard to drug prosecutions everywhere,” Taibbi says. “I mean, when you think about the way they behave toward ordinary people who get caught up in drug cases, where they seize all your property and they use absolutely the maximum sentences they can possibly avail themselves of, and in this case they catch a bank that launders billions of dollars for Colombian and Mexican drug cartels … for years on end, and they can’t find something to charge these people with?”
“If the law doesn’t apply equally to everybody, then you don’t really have a system of law. And so you have a built-in defense for everybody in every drug case forever,” Taibbi says. “I mean, if you get caught with a stem of marijuana, how do you not stand up and say, ‘You’re going to send me to jail for this where a guy who laundered a billion dollars for a bunch of murderers gets nothing?’”