July 22, 2012
“And remember, where you have a concentration of power in a few hands, all too frequently men with the mentality of gangsters get control. History has proven that.”
John Dalberg Lord Acton
This HSBC scandal is being overshadowed by LIBOR a bit in the States at least, and the usual diversions of the day to day, but it seems about to explode into the headlines of the insular major media.
There is chatter in banking circles that HSBC is about to be handed a record fine of one billion dollars, or more. At least this is what I hear. Obama will point to it as a ‘get tough’ approach to the rampant fraud and bad behaviour that is still plaguing the US recovery and financial system.
The US has been looking to make an example that whilst some banking excesses might be tolerated, there are areas of dirty financial dealing that go a step too far and will be dealt with. Especially if the perpetrator is not in the official stable of monetary mavens. The august Senators are still chafing at having to kowtow publicly to some of the pampered princes of Wall Street, whose deep pockets fill their campaign coffers.
Stephen Green, made Baron of Hurstpierpoint in November 2010, and the former head man at HSBC, a conservative politician and current Cabinet Minister for Trade and Investment, will almost certainly plead the CEO defense for the crimes that were committed during his tenure over the Bank. His profile is rather high now because of his role in the London Olympics.
When government officials and candidates refuse to answer questions or disclose information they often have something to hide, especially if it involves some of the dodgier financial havens of the world where cash is king and the law is just a piece of paper.