On Monday, Swiss bank Credit Suisse pled guilty to helping wealthy Americans evade taxes and agreed to pay a $2.6 billion settlement. Even though Attorney General Eric Holder got the bank to admit fault, no one is going to jail. CEO Brady Dougan will keep his job, and the bank doesn't even have to release the names of the Americans who evaded taxes.
John Letzing and David Enrich at The Wall Street Journal report, "As part of Credit Suisse's settlement, the bank agreed to fire three employees who are currently on leave. Those were the only personnel-related concessions Credit Suisse had to make. None of the U.S. authorities pushed for Mr. Dougan to be penalized personally, according to people familiar with the matter." This makes top executives on Wall Street feel better, but it's not as comforting to everyone else.
Credit Suisse did consider asking Dougan to resign, but only to expedite a legal settlement. Letzing and Enrich report that Credit Suisse officials considered asking the Swiss government if they could "sidestep bank-secrecy rules and hand over the names of American clients to U.S. authorities ... Board members believed such a request would mean Mr. Dougan would have to resign to appease Swiss politicians." Ultimately, Holder's DOJ did not push for the names, and Dougan got to keep his job.
Earlier this month, Holder released a video message insisting that no bank is "too big to jail." If he meant that no bank is too big to plead guilty to helping Americans evade taxes, he's probably right. Credit Suisse is a big bank. But no one from Credit Suisse is in jail. As Al Lewis wrote for MarketWatch Tuesday, "Even though it’s pretty much a convicted felon, Credit Suisse is still in the banking business and its management team remains in place. ... It’s hard to imagine a convicted felon getting a job at a bank. But now we know that a convicted felon can actually be a bank."