Partner Robert Ray Speaks to Wall Street Journal About Ponzi Charges Brought Against French Bank Société GénéraleThe Wall Street Journal
Pryor Cashman Litigation Partner Robert W. Ray was quoted in The Wall Street Journal article, “Bank Probe in Stanford Case.”
According to the September 16, 2011 article, “The Justice Department is investigating whether French bank Société Générale SA helped facilitate Texas financier R. Allen Stanford’s alleged $7 billion Ponzi scheme by ignoring suspicious transactions.” If the Justice Department concludes that the bank failed to follow due diligence procedures or to ask questions about irregular banking activity, prosecution under the federal anti-money laundering statute, the Bank Secrecy Act, or other conspiracy or fraud charges could be formed against Société Générale.
When asked about this possibility, Ray, who is experienced in white collar criminal defense, agreed it would be highly unusual to criminally prosecute a bank for facilitating a fraud based on the failures of its employees to uncover it. “At that level, prosecutions are reserved for the bad actor,” he said, “unless you are prepared to say that the bank has a systemic problem and is corrupt at its core.”
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