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Forum Post: I thought corporations were people.

Posted 8 years ago on July 17, 2012, 8:10 p.m. EST by toukarin (488)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

So HSBC has admitted to money laundering for drug cartels and the governments of Iran and Syria on a massive scale.

Correct me if I am wrong.... if I was an individual were to admit to such a thing, this would be a felony... and if I had done such things for countries like Iran and Syria... it would be treason...

So by that yardstick... I think HSBC top management in the US either needs to be executed or imprisoned at the very least. Leavenworth sounds about right.

GlaxoSmithKline illegally marketed drugs, promoting two popular drugs for unapproved uses and failing to disclose important safety information. It marketed antidepressants to kids under 18. It marketed drugs for things they were not meant for. In the past decade, those two drugs alone brought in more than seven times the amount of this settlement. Paxil brought in close to $14 billion, Wellbutrin $8.5 billion.

A $3 billion settlement... for a company making $42 billion (~45% derived from the US market) in revenue with $13 billion in profits in 2011. An individual would have seen at least some jail time and a suspension of licenses to do business among other things.

Not sure you can put the company out of business without causing some problems, but top management should not be allowed into the pharma industry again and should serve jail time.

I guess corporations are people only when it is convenient.



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[-] 3 points by geo (2638) from Concord, NC 8 years ago

CEO's always claim zero knowledge of any wrong doing, and blame rogue employees for any and all illegal activities that happens..... but CEO's will always claim complete control over their institution and take full credit for everything positive the company did when bonus time comes.

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 8 years ago

Maybe the better punishment would be to withhold all dividends and suspend all trading on their stock for a number of years. That would be the closest that a corporation could come to going to jail.

Isn't that the reason a corporation exists, to make money for their shareholders? Take that existence, the money, and put it in prison. Then we will see how many risks the executives are willing to take. Unfair to investors? If the stockholders invest their money in a criminal enterprise, they should suffer the consequences that their investment allows.

[-] 1 points by geo (2638) from Concord, NC 8 years ago

Isn't that the reason a corporation exists, to make money for their shareholders?

Thats not the only reason. The main reason to incorporate is to protect yourself from personal liability:

Corporation or LLC signs lease - you’re not personally liable Corporation or LLC borrows money - you’re not personally liable Corporation or LLC buys goods and services on credit - you’re not personally liable

... and if illegal activities take place you have a better chance avoiding prosecution, unless you are embezzling the corporation.