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In this Dec. 11, 2012, file photo, Lanny Breuer, center, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department's Criminal Division, addresses a news conference in New York's Brooklyn borough to announce British bank HSBC agreed to pay $1.9 billion to settle a New York based-probe in connection with the laundering of money from narcotics traffickers in Mexico.

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Too big to jail? Execs avoid laundering charges

When the Justice Department announced its record $1.9 billion settlement against British bank HSBC last week, prosecutors called it a powerful blow to a dysfunctional institution accused of laundering money for Iran, Libya and Mexico's murderous drug cartels.

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