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May 20, 2015

Better Markets Statement on DOJ’s Latest “Slap on the Wrist” Settlement Charade for Wall Street’s Too-Big-To-Fail Banks

If you ain’t jailed, you ain’t nailed

Washington, D.C. – Dennis Kelleher, President and CEO of Better Markets, issued the following statement in response to the Department of Justice’s criminal currency-rigging settlements with UBS AG, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Barclays, and Royal Bank of Scotland:

“DOJ’s settlement charade continues where it talks tough, but winks at Wall Street’s too-big-to-fail banks’ criminal conduct, structuring sweetheart deals to minimize the impact on the criminals. That doesn’t punish past crime or deter future crime at these global too-big-to-fail banks. In fact, as the repeated illegal conduct by these banks prove, DOJ’s parade of pretend-punishment actually rewards and incentives more crime.

The settlements this time are again for particularly egregious conduct: referring to themselves as ‘The Cartel,’ the traders at these banks knowingly and criminally engaged in a massive, far-reaching, global conspiracy to rig the foreign exchange markets for many years ‘to drive up their own profits at the expense of clients.’ For that, they get a slap on the wrist fine, paid for with shareholder’s money and is possibly tax deductible. In addition, the Department of Justice again has failed to hold any individuals accountable for their crimes and didn’t disclose key details to the public, including how such extensive and lucrative criminal conduct could go undetected for so many years under the nose of management and supervisors.

Banks don’t commit crimes, bankers do. Until the feds personally and meaningfully punish actual executives and supervisors for their wrongdoing, big banks will continue their crime spree at the expense of investors, our markets, and families on Main Street. Pleading guilty to a crime must mean jail time. The Cartel said ‘if you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying.’ It is long past time for DOJ to adopt a real law enforcement strategy for Wall Street: ‘if you ain’t jailed, you ain’t nailed.’”


Better Markets is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that promotes the public interest in financial reform in the domestic and global capital and commodity markets. Better Markets advocates for transparency, oversight and accountability with the goal of a stronger, safer financial system that is less prone to crisis and failure thereby eliminating or minimizing the need for more taxpayer funded bailouts. To learn more, visit

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