Monday 1st of September 2014

above the law .....

above the law ....

According to a February 25 article in the business section of The Washington Post (WP), a senate report has found that the Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse knowingly enabled and assisted wealthy Americans in avoiding paying US taxes on billions of dollars in income for many years.

Furthermore, according to the WP, the congressional analysis found that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is dragging its feet in prosecuting the bank and its staff who have facilitated the defrauding of the US treasury: "The allegations were particularly stunning in the face of the budget cuts and deficits that the United States faces, lawmakers said. The report casts the Justice Department as a hapless enforcer that has dragged its feet in getting Credit Suisse to turn over the names of some 22,000 U.S. customers." During the past four years, "no one has stood trial, and the bank has not been held legally accountable, the report says."

BuzzFlash at Truthout has written numerous commentaries on how the DOJ has repeatedly failed to prosecute banks or high level bank staff for illegal patterns of behavior within banks too big to fail -- whether the financial institution is headquartered in the United States or overseas.  Although the DOJ apparently "bristled" at the Senate subcommittee report, its lack of zeal in pursuing criminal charges is entirely consistent with its recent historical lax attitude toward holding big banks and bankers legally accountable.

Buzzflash and Truthout don’t take corporate funding - that means we’re accountable to our readers, not big business or billionaire sponsors. Please support our work by making a tax-deductible donation today - just click here to donate.

Even though secretive Swiss banking laws present obstacles to obtaining information, it is clear, the report charges, that the DOJ has not pursued the Credit Suisse violations of US law:

Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the subcommittee on investigations, insisted at a news conference Tuesday that the department could do more, including using civil summons and a grand jury subpoena to get information.

“The Department of Justice must use the legal tools that it has and not depend on Swiss courts,” he said. “Collecting taxes owed by tax evaders is vitally important for our fiscal situation. Beyond that, there is a basic question of fairness. These individuals are cheating not just the government but honest Americans who pay what they owe.”

But other than fining large financial institutions for systemic breaking of the law, the DOJ has done little.  Just compare how tenaciously the DOJ has attempted to extradite Julian Assange and Edward Snowden with its kid glove treatment of Wall Street and its overseas counterparts.

If you reveal information that embarrasses an increasingly secretive US executive branch, then Attorney General Holder and President Obama want you shackled and tossed into solitary confinement for the rest of your life.

If you are a member of the gilded elite and help loot the US treasury, then what you're likely to get from the DOJ is a congenial "negotiating" session that might end up in a fine (that is merely the cost of doing business for a bank). 

Disclose the truth and Eric Holder puts you on a fugitive from justice poster; defraud the US treasury and it's possible that he'll invite you to his office for a friendly chat to resolve "some minor issues" in a face-saving manner for both parties.

Swiss Banking Giant Helped US 1% Evade Taxes On Billions Of Dollars, But Justice Department Hasn't Prosecuted