No Banksters Were Harmed in the Production of This Anti-Crime Video


The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has rolled out a campaign to raise awareness of Transnational Crime.

$870 billion dollars a year. Including $250 billion on counterfeit goods. $320 billion on drugs. $32 billion on human trafficking. $250B on illegal arms.

But nowhere did the UNODC include the crimes of multinational banks.

Not the gaming of a key market measure, LIBOR. Not the theft of customer money. Not the theft of millions of homes through foreclosure fraud, or the massive fraud involved in the inflating of the housing bubble. It’s not even clear the UNODC includes the banks’ stake in all this illicit trade.

In short, while the UNODC laudably wants to draw attention to how much of our transnational trade benefits gangsters and thugs, it left an entire category–perhaps the most insidious–of thugs out of its reporting (the same blind spot the US government had when it rolled out sanctions against TCOs).

At this point, there’s no getting around it, no matter how much polite society would like to deny this fact. If we want to go after TCOs–and we should–we need to go after the cornerstone of transnational crime, which is increasingly the banks the government and international community has been propping up for the last 5 years.

14 replies
  1. MadDog says:

    You left out this one via tonight’s NYT:

    Regulators and HSBC Faulted in Report on Money Laundering

    “The global bank HSBC has been used by Mexican drug cartels looking to get cash back into the United States, by Saudi Arabian banks that needed access to dollars despite their terrorist ties and by Iranians who wanted to circumvent United States sanctions, a Senate report says.

    The 335-page report released Monday also says that executives at HSBC and regulators at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency ignored warning signs and failed to stop the illegal behavior at many points between 2001 and 2010.

    In one case, an HSBC executive successfully argued that the bank should resume business with a Saudi Arabian bank, Al Rajhi Bank, despite the fact that Al Rajhi’s founder had been an early benefactor of Al Qaeda. HSBC’s American branch ended up supplying a billion dollars to the bank…”

  2. Phil Perspective says:

    Being the asshole I am, I just Tweeted your exact question to the UNODC Twitter account. I wonder if I’ll get an answer in the morning. After all, they wanted comments with the #TOC hashtag.

  3. emptywheel says:

    @MadDog: Ah, shoot. That was SUPPOSED to be my “illicit trade” link, but I accidentally doubled another one. Thanks for alerting me.

  4. Starbuck says:

    @P J Evans: Which might force governments into doing correct banking, like North Dakota does.

    At the national level, eliminate the Federal Reserve.

  5. BSbafflesbrains says:

    Reports and commissions and reports from commissions and committees have no effect on the uber wealthy and their minions because they live in a world of perverse logic and inverse conscience.

  6. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Perhaps the UNODC analysts responsible for investigating offshore tax havens – and the role they play in aiding and abetting the hiding of that other money and looting of billions more – got lost between the bar and the pool at that resort in the British Virgin Islands (or maybe it was that forested one overlooking the Hudson, or that glass-enclosed one overlooking the Thames).

  7. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Odd that HSBC’s head of compliance for ten years should resign so dramatically before an insidiously rare hearing by the congressional Homeland “Security” and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee. His crime? HSBC allegedly “exposed” the US “to billions of dollars worth of money laundering, drug trafficking, and terrorist financing.”

    Good start. But this man seems a patsy, in that his upper management seems uninvolved, so far. Not to mention that New York City now vies with London’s financial district for top billing in seeking to attract exactly that sort of “banking” work.

  8. BSbafflesbrains says:

    @earlofhuntingdon: So, not really odd is it. There is no hegemony or common purpose among the uber wealthy and as I am always pointing out; they are batshit crazy and will burn down their own house. Bankers do what they are told just like politicians.

  9. Mauimom says:

    Marcy, this crap has been driving me crazy.

    In my bleak economic area, there are not enough thriving businesses to buy radio ads, so the airwaves are filled with crap from “the Ad Council.” A pair of particularly offensive offerings from the “Nation Crime Prevention Council” warn me a) not to buy “illegal” downloads or fake Gucci handbags, because the $$$ always goes to “gangs;” and b) not to buy drugs on the internet, because they may contain antifreeze or sawdust.

    While touting the economic “harm” of these “dangerous practices,” not a word about financial criminality.

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