You could ice skate in Hell sooner than see the United States follow in Iceland’s footsteps with this move: the 26th banker was just sentenced to prison for a combined 74 years between them — each of them jailed for their roles in the 2008 economic collapse.
Five top bankers from Iceland’s two largest banks — Landsbankinn and Kaupþing — were found guilty of embezzlement, market manipulation, and breach of fiduciary duties. Though the country’s maximum penalty for financial crimes currently stands at six years, the Supreme Court is currently hearing arguments to extend the limit. Most of those convicted have so far been sentenced to between two and five years.
Do those sentences sound light to you? Perhaps. Until you consider the curious method of punishment the U.S. employed for its thieving bankers.
While Iceland allowed its government to take total financial control when the 2008 crisis took hold, American bankers — in likely the only
bail handout given to criminals of mass destruction — received $700 billion in Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds.
Congress American taxpayer.
Iceland certainly didn’t make it through the crisis unscathed. It still pays the IMF and other lenders for funds needed to prevent a complete financial meltdown nearly eight years ago. Icelandic bankers are still being held to task for their illegal market legerdemain that nearly brought down the financial planet.
In contrast, not one banker in America has ever (nor will ever?) be held responsible for their criminal acts. Instead, essentially in addition to the $700 billion windfall — Big Banks are now raking in over $160 billion in profit every year.
“We were wise enough not to follow the traditional prevailing orthodoxies of the Western financial world in the last 30 years. We introduced currency controls, we let the banks fail, we provided support for the poor, and we didn’t introduce austerity measures like you’re seeing in Europe.”
If only the U.S. government were capable of employing logic.