Barclays Gets a Cease and Desist From the Fed With a $298 Million Bill From the DoJ (Big Whoop)
Via the Fed Board of Governors:
The Federal Reserve Board and the New York State Banking Department on Wednesday announced the issuance of a consent Order to Cease and Desist against Barclays Bank PLC, London and the bank's branch in New York. The Order requires Barclays Bank to improve its program for compliance with U.S. economic sanctions requirements on a global basis.
The United Kingdom's Financial Services Authority, the home country supervisor of Barclays Bank, has agreed to assist the Federal Reserve in the implementation and supervision of the Order.
In separate, coordinated actions, the U.S. Department of Justice and the District Attorney for New York County announced the execution of deferred prosecution agreements with Barclays Bank, and the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control announced a settlement for violations of its regulations. The settlement agreements all relate to U.S. dollar payments routed through banks in the United States that involved entities or persons subject to U.S. economic sanctions. In the settlements with the Department of Justice and the District Attorney, Barclays Bank has agreed to pay $149 million, each, to the United States and to New York, for a total of $298 million.
I find it funny that we talk about the $298 million FIRST, then get around to slapping them with a cease and desist.
The judge presiding over the settlement made it known that he wasn't happy but let it happen anyway, leaving me to wonder once again what the fuck is going on over here that makes this sort of behavior OK. Could you imagine if murderers and rapists could break the law in the same fashion as banks? "Oh, sorry I killed my entire family, judge, but here's $300 million to make up for it!"
U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan endorsed the deal, in which the bank will pay the money as part of a deferred prosecution agreement over charges that it violated U.S. sanctions by doing deals with Cuba, Iran, Libya, Sudan and Myanmar.
The judge approved the agreement after an hour-long hearing in which he expressed concerns that Barclays was not pleading guilty; that no individuals were being prosecuted; and that the $298 million would be paid by shareholders, not corporate executives.
U.S. Justice Department lawyer Kevin Gerrity defended the agreement as a "fair and appropriate resolution." He told the judge that the bank's internal four-year investigation had cost it an additional $250 million.
Ha! Of course the Justice Department would say such a thing, to admit that this settlement (and many like it) are a farce would be to admit that his agency is also a farce. God forbid anyone but the DoJ's critics say that.
Said the DoJ in their own press release:
"Banks like Barclays will not be permitted to disregard sanctions put in place by the U.S. government," said Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division. "Not just once, but numerous times over more than a decade, Barclays stripped vital information out of payment messages that would have alerted U.S. financial institutions about the true origins of the funds. This serious conduct has now resulted in a serious sanction – forfeiture of $298 million, a public admission of its illegal acts, and the implementation of stringent compliance measures. As I’ve said repeatedly, when corporations self-disclose their criminal wrongdoing to us, as Barclays did, they will not get a pass, but we will take their disclosure, cooperation and remedial efforts into consideration."
Hahahahahahaha, but you don't consider $298 million to be a pass for Barclays? Please. They aren't even paying for it, shareholders are. I'm sure you really scared them out of ever considering illegal action in the future, tough guy.
What have we learned today, kids? It's OK to break the law as long as A) you are an investment bank and B) you have a few hundred million lying around to pay off the "regulators" when they come for your ass. A cease and desist later, it's back to business.