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Did We Just Find Someone to Take On the Banks?

Aug. 10 (Bloomberg) -- To see how the federal government has pursued money-laundering cases against big banks over their dealings with Iran and other countries under U.S. trade sanctions, consider what happened when Barclays Plc and the Justice Department were required to file reports describing the U.K. bank’s cooperation under a settlement in 2010.

The deadline came and went. Barclays and the Justice Department failed to comply, infuriating U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan of Washington, who had ordered that the reports be filed. “I am amazed that with all the legal talent before the court that no one opened the order to read it,” he said. A Justice Department attorney, Kevin Gerrity, told the judge he couldn’t explain the lapse. Before approving Barclays’s deferred-prosecution agreement, Sullivan called it a “sweetheart deal.” Barclays paid $298 million, its core business was unscathed, and no executives were charged.