Dick Fuld and Jimmy Caine are grateful that in the US, punishment for corporate malfeasance typically amounts to a slap on the wrist. Because after nearly crashing the global economy, the two former bank CEOs got off with barely a slap on the wrist.
If the pair had been running banks in China when all that went down, it probably would have been a different story. For instance, Fuld probably wouldn’t have been alive to sit for all those ten-year retrospective interviews in late 2018 that helped soften his image as the CEO whose recklessness almost destroyed American capitalism from the inside out.
Compare that to this: On Friday, the former chairman of struggling Chinese lender Hengfeng Bank was sentenced to death with a two-year delay by a Chinese court. His crime? He was convicted of illegally pocketing $100 million while his Shandong-based bank headed inexorably toward failure, eventually becoming the latest Chinese regional lender to require a rescue and full-on nationalization by Beijing.