Elizabeth Warren on Thursday demanded answers from top banking regulators over the possibility of shuttering financial firms that flout federal anti-money laundering laws or violate international trade sanctions.
Referencing the penalties leveled against HSBC after the company was caught being used to funnel billions in drug money, the Massachusetts Democrat questioned regulators over why they did not consider forcing the British bank to shut its doors on U.S. soil.
"What does it take?" Warren said. "Howmany billions of dollars do you have to launder for drug lords?"
Regulators fined the company $1.9 billion over the laundering, but Warren questioned why no criminal prosecutions were aimed at individuals within the company, saying they were not being held to the same standard as common Americans.
"If you're caught with an ounce of cocaine, the chances are good you go to jail. If you're caught repeatedly, you can go to jail for life," Warren told regulators during a Senate Banking Committee hearing. "Incidentally, if you launder nearly a billion dollars in drug money, your company pays a fine and you go home and sleep in your own bed at night."