Januar 8, 2016
Former money-market trader Paul Thompson was at his well kept brick-and-tile Dalkeith home, a couple of blocks from Perth’s Swan River, last Thursday when Australian Federal Police officers came to arrest him. The October 22 arrest was not a complete surprise, nor was it entirely unexpected. Thompson didn’t know an arrest warrant had been issued and he wasn’t told police were on their way. He spent the past week in Hakea Prison, south of Perth, awaiting extradition proceedings to the United States, where the charges have been filed. – Financial Review
Dominant Social Theme: US justice is always served.
Free-Market Analysis: One long-running financial meme of the mainstream media poses the question, why haven’t bankers gone to jail for helping to create the subprime crisis and subsequent Great Recession?
Back in 2013, it looked like that question would be answered by action when Benjamin Wagner, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of California, targeted JPMorgan Chase.
Wagner wrote a report on how JPMorgan Chase marketed inappropriate packages of securitized mortgages to investors. But instead of going to court, the Justice Department extracted a huge financial settlement.
In November 2013, JPMorgan Chase decided to accept a $13 billion DOJ offer. Eric Holder claimed the settlement showed Wall Street could be held accountable.
But perhaps not. The corporation itself took the blame, not individuals. Corporate personhood is a big barrier when it comes to prosecuting individuals in large corporations. Instead, the deep pockets of large entities prove a tempting alternative target.
The combination of prosecutorial difficulty and the available prize of corporate treasure combine to create a federal bias toward seeking fines rather than corporate accountability.