By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: November 4, 2019 ~
Corporate America is increasingly sending conflicting messages to its top executives: engaging in relationships with subordinates, consensual or otherwise, will cost you your job – but criminal acts involving looting the public, not so much.
Steve Easterbrook, the CEO of the fast food chain, McDonald’s, was fired by his Board yesterday for engaging in a consensual relationship with an employee, in violation of company policy.
The Board of the largest bank in the United States, on the other hand, JPMorgan Chase, has not fired its Chairman and CEO, Jamie Dimon, despite the following occurring on his watch: $6.2 billion in losses from a high-risk gamble with derivatives in London in 2012 – using, mind you, the deposits of its federally-insured bank. Then came 2014 when the bank was charged for its role in the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme. The Madoff matter landed the bank with two criminal felony counts from the U.S. Department of Justice, to which it pleaded guilty. The very following year, 2015, JPMorgan Chase pleaded guilty to one more criminal felony charge for its role in rigging foreign currency trading. It’s still on probation for that, and yet, just this past September, the U.S. Department of Justice, for the first time that anyone can remember, named the precious metals trading desk of the bank a criminal enterprise and charged three of its traders, including the head of the desk, with racketeering under the RICO statute – a law that is typically used to prosecute organized crime – which the bank is increasingly looking a lot like.
Adding to the conflicted message that corporate America is sending to the public and shareholders, Dimon is also the Chairman of the Business Roundtable, whose Board includes the CEOs of some of the largest corporations in America. What kind of message is the Business Roundtable sending to America when it selects as its leader a man whose bank has been serially charged with brazenly violating criminal statutes, paying fines and moving on to the next rip-off.