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March 7, 2013

Attorney general says big banks’ size may inhibit prosecution

U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. told lawmakers that some financial institutions have become “so large” that it makes it “difficult for us to prosecute them.”

Holder’s admission bolsters criticisms that federal prosecutors are deeming some banks “too big to jail,” a charge that lawmakers and consumer advocates have routinely made in the wake of recent bank settlements. Although the government has issued record multimillion-dollar fines in these cases, critics say without criminal charges, the agreements amount to a slap on the wrist.

“Stunning” is how Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) described Holder’s remarks before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. “After hearing today’s testimony, big bankers know that if they commit financial crimes, they can expect a passive response from the Justice Department.”

Holder’s remarks came during an exchange with Grassley, who questioned why Justice failed to bring criminal charges against HSBC and its employees for allegedly laundering money for Mexican drug cartels.”

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Read full Washington Post article here

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