Ms. Meng is charged with violating U.S. sanctions on Iran. Yet, consider her arrest in the context of the large number of companies, U.S. and non-U.S., that have violated America’s sanctions against Iran and other countries. In 2011, for example, JP Morgan Chase paid $88.3 million in fines in 2011 for violating U.S. sanctions against Cuba, Iran and Sudan. Yet Jamie Dimon wasn’t grabbed off a plane and whisked into custody.
And JP Morgan Chase was hardly alone in violating U.S. sanctions. Since 2010, the following major financial institutions paid fines for such violations: Banco do Brasil, Bank of America, Bank of Guam, Bank of Moscow, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Barclays, BNP Paribas, Clearstream Banking, Commerzbank, Compass, Crédit Agricole, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, ING, Intesa Sanpaolo, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, National Bank of Pakistan, PayPal, RBS (ABN Amro), Société Générale, Toronto-Dominion Bank, Trans Pacific National Bank (now known as Beacon Business Bank), Standard Chartered and Wells Fargo.
None of the CEOs or CFOs of these sanction-busting banks were arrested and taken into custody for these violations. In all of these cases, the corporation – rather than an individual manager – was held accountable.