Shrem and HSBC: A tale of two money-laundering cases

On Tuesday, Charlie Shrem was released from custody after posting a $1 million bond, despite arguments from prosecutors representing the State of New York that he was a flight risk.

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Shrem and HSBC: A tale of two money-laundering cases

On Tuesday, Charlie Shrem was released from custody after posting a $1 million bond, despite arguments from prosecutors representing the State of New York that he was a flight risk.

Shrem was arrested Sunday and charged with conspiring to launder more $1 million in Bitcoins through BitInstant along with a Silk Road user.

He has since resigned from his post as a board member at the Bitcoin Foundation and will be confined to his parents’ home in Brooklyn while he awaits trial.

In July of 2013, just seven months ago, a different judge approved HSBC bank’s $1.9 billion settlement with the United States over charges that the bank helped launder about $670 billion for Latin American drug cartels.

As Bloomberg reported at the time:

“HSBC was accused of failing to monitor more than $670 billion in wire transfers and more than $9.4 billion in purchases of U.S. currency from HSBC Mexico, allowing for money laundering, prosecutors said.”

No one from HSBC was arrested on those charges, and many in the Bitcoin community are asking this week why the State of New York appears so inconsistent in its enforcement of justice.

It’s not terribly useful to speculate beyond that point because all kinds of “too big to jail” rabbit holes open up. But no one from HSBC was ever arrested, and we need to be asking why. If we are lucky, this issue will get brought up at Shrem’s trial.

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