Clearstream has a double system of accounting, with secret, non-published accounts that banks and big corporations use to make transfers they don’t want listed on the official books.
Though it is legally limited to dealing with financial institutions, Clearstream gives secret accounts to multinational corporations so they can move stocks and money free from outside scrutiny.
Clearstream carried an account for a notoriously criminal Russian bank for several years after the bank had officially “collapsed,” and clearinghouse accounts camouflaged the destinations of transfers to Colombian banks.
Clearstream operates a computer program that erases the traces of trades on request from its members.
Clearstream was used to try to hide a dubious arms deal between French authorities and the Taiwanese military.
It amazes me what we let our leaders and our wealthy get away with. The corruption within the system is monumental. The savings and loans crisis in the eighties, the Crédit Lyonnais scandal in France, Enron. There doesn’t seem to be any end to the ill-doing of the financial elite.
Consequence? A couple of peons get assassinated, another one does a couple of years of jail and the ringleaders walk free, although often – but not always – sent into a forced retirement. But with the ill-gotten wealth they enjoy, what do they care?
Not much, apparently.
When will we crack down on white-collar crime? Why should stealing car radios or groceries be a greater crime than defrauding the public on a monumental scale?
Short answer: it shouldn’t.
And the world’s prisons should be filled with white-collar criminals. Which could easily be financed with their confiscated wealth.
A few years of crackdown and the world’s stock markets will be as safe as Moscow streets became after the gangs were rounded up in the late nineties.
Who would want to commit white-collar crime if he or she knew the consequences were complete confiscation of all material assets and a decade or more in prison? Especially if he or she knew that the chances of apprehension were high.