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January 7, 2016

Wilmington Trust: ‘Not too big to jail’

“Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder was widely criticized in 2013 for suggesting that the nation’s largest banks are too big to jail.

“In Delaware, the addition this week of Wilmington Trust as a defendant to the criminal indictment already pending against four top-tier bank executives stands in contrast to that.

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“I applaud [the prosecutors] for doing this,” said Dennis Kelleher, president of the financial reform group Better Markets. “Frankly, there is no reason a bank should be treated as some special, untouchable corporate entity in the United States.”

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“It’s extremely unlikely there will be any material consequences to M&T itself,” said Kelleher. “Unfortunately we know from what the feds have done to bigger banks, such as for rigging the foreign markets, the criminal conduct was egregious and longstanding, but they still made sure there were no material consequences to the bank.”

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“In this case, it’s somewhat uncommon that you would have so many senior officers involved in, on the other hand you had a bank in clear distress,” Kelleher said. “They either follow the law and face the music of the market, the consequences of the market, or they make the wrong decision and try to hide or cover up bad economics, which can lead to a criminal conduct.”

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Read the full Delaware Online (The News Journal) article by Jessica Masulli Reyes and Saranac Hale Spencer here.

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