Regular readers of my articles know that I feel that US regulatory agencies are soft on banks that are found to be facilitating major money laundering operations. Violators are usually assessed a fine that is but a small percentage of their annual earnings, and may sometimes be subject to a deferred-prosecution agreement, both of which avoid a criminal money laundering charge.
Is the real reason that the United States Attorneys do not charge banks with money laundering offenses because they are afraid of the possible charter consequences ? I ask that question, because in connection with the pending investigation of JP Morgan Chase, a government official stated that, should the bank be convicted of money laundering, that would trigger a mandatory OCC charter revocation hearing.
Frankly, I cannot remember a single case, during the last twenty years, where a national bank was convicted of, or pled guilty, of money laundering. Is these merely a classic coincidence, or do US regulatory agencies, and our law enforcement community, willfully avoid such charges, lest a bank that deserves to lose its charter, actually loses it ?
Who know the answer to this question, I wonder ?