HSBC Executives Avoid Laundering Charges

People walk past a logo of HSBC headquarters in Hong Kong Monday, July 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

People walk past a logo of HSBC headquarters in Hong Kong Monday, July 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

 

NEW YORK (AP) – When the Justice Department announced its record $1.9 billion settlement against British bank HSBC last week, prosecutors called it a powerful blow to a dysfunctional institution accused of laundering money for Iran, Libya and Mexico’s murderous drug cartels.

But to some former federal prosecutors, it was only the latest case of the government stopping short of bringing criminal money laundering charges against a big bank or its executives, at least in part on the rationale that such prosecutions could be devastating enough to cause such banks to fail.

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