According to The Fiscal Times, the public bank apology is on the verge of becoming performance art.
When is a [$1.9B] record fine not all that impressive in the grand scheme of things? When it’s the $1.9 billion in penalties levied on HSBC by U.S. authorities for money laundering and violating sanctions rules. It’s more money than most of us will ever see in our lifetimes [...] but while it seems awe-inspiring in absolute terms, it really amounts to a slap on the wrist for a giant global firm like HSBC.
Don’t misunderstand me. The fine is large enough to cause some degree of pain to HSBC, [but] doesn’t begin to address the magnitude of what HSBC did when it helped drug traffickers launder nearly $1 billion of illegal proceeds, or helped Qadaffi’s Libya, the military junta in Burma, the Iranian theocracy and other so-called rogue states evade sanctions aimed at ensuring they couldn’t get access to the efficient and liquid U.S. financial system. That made the bank a de facto if not de jure facilitator of these governments...