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Hill: One legal system for corporations, another for the rest of us?

Wachovia Bank executives laundered billions of dollars for Mexican drug cartels. Actually, the American bank officials did more than aid criminals with financial issues. In 2006, when one narco gang had problems shipping drugs across the U.S.-Mexican border, the bank executives bought commercial jets for the cartel and arranged their delivery to Mexico.

Wachovia was not the only bank that helped dubious people. The American government announced that some HSBC executives worked closely with the North Korean, Sudanese and Iranian regimes to help break the international sanctions imposed on these governments in a manner U.S. officials described as “stunning failures of oversight – and worse.”

These deals were admitted to by bank officials. U.S. Senate investigators traced thousands of transactions. Whistleblowers were willing to testify.  However, not a single bank staff was arrested, convicted or jailed. Rather, what these organizations, and dozens of others, did was confess to their misdemeanours and pay fines.

Welcome to the world of “Deferred Prosecutions” or “Remediation Agreements” for corporations. They are now, thanks the Justin Trudeau government, coming to Canada.

Buried in an obscure clause in the spring 2018 mammoth budget bill, Canadian corporations have now been given, according to some anti-corruption experts, a “Get Out of Jail” pass.

Michael Spratt, an Ottawa defence lawyer, writes in his blog that these agreements are not available to individuals, only to “rich corporations. A single mom, with no criminal record, who is struggling to put food on the table, and who did not report a social assistance overpayment can face criminal charges. There are no … agreements for these people.”

Read Declan Hill’s full article: Ottawa Citizen

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