Current TV “Viewpoint” host and former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer said the Justice Department’s $1.9 billion settlement with global banking giant HBSC was little more than a “slap on the wrist.”
“Talk about another cave, HSBC — little tiny slap on the wrist,” Spitzer said, in a preview segment for his show during Cenk Uygur’s “The Young Turks” on Thursday. “‘Go give money to drug lords’ — that’s what the banks are being told over and over. Shameful, absolutely outrageous what [Attorney General] Eric Holder has done here. I can’t believe it.”
The Justice Department reached the settlement earlier this week, after a government report found HBSC responsible for exposing the U.S. financial system “to a wide array of money laundering, drug trafficking and terrorist financing.”
Spitzer said this settlement sent the wrong message to the banking community.
“Here’s what you do if you’re HBSC: You go down to the drug countries and you say, ‘We’re open for business, because we make a lot of money doing this and then if they catch us, we only give a little bit of it back to the government and maybe a little bit of our bonuses, but maybe not,’ and that is what Eric Holder is saying,” Spitzer continued.
“But, if they catch on you on the street with a little reefer in your pocket — the [government is] still going to send you to jail,” Spitzer said. “Hypocrisy — it is grotesque. It’s outrageous. This Department of Justice — a failure, top to bottom. Eric Holder, failure. That’s the verdict. Am I being clear enough in my view on where they have gone wrong? And by the way, Lanny Breuer of the criminal division — horrendous. Should be gone tomorrow. The decisions he’s made over and over — simply anathema to the appropriate execution of the law of this United States of America. I am outraged by these decisions. My editorial for tonight.”