Barclays PLC agreed to pay $298 million to settle charges by U.S. and New York prosecutors that the U.K. bank altered financial records for more than a decade to hide hundreds of millions of dollars in payments flowing into the U.S. from Cuba, Libya, Iran and other sanctioned countries.
There are, of course, no criminal prosecutions, just fines the banks can easily pay. If a private citizen was caught hiding payments like this, they’d be in prison. But not the banksters. Goodness, it might hurt the market or their stock price if top execs were to be frog-marched to prison. So, the charade continues. The bank is shocked, just shocked, at the behavior of a few rogue employees, promises to sin no more – and nothing really changes. Why should it? The Obama Administration has shown they don’t criminally indict banksters so there’s no reason for them to change.
ABN Arno, Credit Suisse, and a unit of Lloyds have paid fines for similar transgressions. Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and Western Union recently paid fines for laundering money for Mexican drug cartels. You’d think that would have triggered criminal indictments, but you’d be wrong.