Criminal Incentives

Last week, HSBC paid a $1.92 billion penalty for laundering money for murderers. Today, UBS is fined $1.5 billion for its part in rigging LIBOR over a multiyear period! While these banks will now “beef up their compliance procedures” and fire some traders, unless top management serves prison time, these toothless penalties are simply a cost of doing business and will fail miserably in deterring criminal activity in the future.

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