Another big financial institution. Another fine. And nobody gets pinched.

It’s more of the same at the Justice Department today. HSBC Holdings, the big British bank, admitted to committing crimes, agreed to pay $1.9 billion, and will avoid prosecution for money-laundering as long as it keeps its nose clean for five years under a deferred-prosecution deal.

The crimes included laundering money for Mexican drug cartels and sanctioned nations such as Iran and Sudan. HSBC gets to keep its banking licenses. And, you guessed it, none of the people who supposedly broke the law has been arrested. If recent history is any guide, none ever will be.

That’s the real crime. Too big to fail has turned equal justice under the law into a mockery.

(Jonathan Weil is a Bloomberg View columnist. Follow him on Twitter.)

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