It's official, there is one law for the banks and another for the rest of us.
A US Congressional Report published today reveals that the Department of Justice dropped serious criminal charges against the world's biggest bank in 2013 after George Osborne intervened to warn the prosecution would lead to another 'global financial disaster'.
Prosecutors were told that HSBC chiefs had laundered $881m from Mexican and Colombian drug cartels. Yet the bankers did not face the full force of the law because they were too big to prosecute. Instead of sending them to jail they allowed these banking crooks to pay a paltry $1.9bn fine because of the fear of 'systemic risk to the global financial market'.
This episode tells us a great deal about the morality and greed that is rife in the world's biggest 'industry'.
It shows there is virtually no crime the bankers can commit that will result in jail time for these 'masters of the universe'. And it exposes the impotence of apparently powerful politicians like US Attorney General Eric Holder and UK Chancellor George Osborne in the face of neo-liberal finance capitalism.
Who can possibly doubt that 21st century capitalism is in the grip of amoral and crooked financiers? Who can doubt that these bankers act as if they are above the law? The plea bargained outcome in this case is hardly likely to act as a deterrent which will successfully curb their illegal behaviour.
The fact is the bankers have the politicians in their pockets. And only after we change that reality can we expect to see crooked bankers brought to justice anywhere.