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  • Too Big to Jail

  • Inside HSBC, the Mexican Drug Cartels and the Greatest Banking Scandal of the Century
  • By: Chris Blackhurst
  • Narrated by: Chris Blackhurst
  • Length: 11 hrs and 48 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (70 ratings)

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Too Big to Jail cover art

Too Big to Jail

By: Chris Blackhurst
Narrated by: Chris Blackhurst
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Summary

From journalist Chris Blackhurst, Too Big to Jail unveils how HSBC facilitated mass money laundering schemes for brutal drug kingpins and rogue nations–and thereby helped to grow one of the deadliest drugs empires the world has ever seen.

While HSBC likes to sell itself as ‘the world’s local bank’–the friendly face of corporate and personal finance–it was hit with a record US fine of $1.9 billion. In pursuit of their goal of becoming the biggest bank in the world, between 2003 and 2010, HSBC allowed El Chapo and the Sinaloa cartel, one of the most notorious and murderous criminal organizations in the world, to turn its ill-gotten money into clean dollars.

How did a bank which boasts transparency, come to facilitate Mexico’s richest drug baron? And how did a bank that had been named ‘one of the best-run organizations in the world’ become so entwined with one of the most barbaric groups of gangsters on the planet?

Too Big to Jail is an extraordinary story, brilliantly told by writer, commentator and former editor of The Independent, Chris Blackhurst, that starts in Hong Kong and ranges across London, Washington, the Cayman Islands and Mexico.

It brings together an extraordinary cast of politicians, bankers, drug dealers, FBI officers and whistle-blowers, and asks what price does greed have? Whose job is it to police global finance? And why did not a single person go to prison for facilitating the murderous expansion of a global drug empire?

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2022 Macmillan Publishers International Limited (P)2022 Macmillan Publishers International Limited

Critic reviews

"Packed with insights and details that will both amaze and appal you." (Oliver Bullough, author of Butler to the World)

What listeners say about Too Big to Jail

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Good breakdown of another corruption scandal

This book gives a really good run down of the scandal between HSBC and the Mexican cartels money. It’s a frustrating story that more people should know, well written and narrated.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Really good listen.

Tells a good story of how a global bank thinks it can do what it wants to be become the biggest bank. That said there is still so much to do and often most issues are overlooked with some issues being hit with a token 7 figure fine which is pennies to these banks. Well worth a listen but the regulators have so much to do but this merry go round will never stop.

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3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting story, dully told

Get the physical book. This was a chore to listen to, which is a shame because it’s a fascinating story that needs to be shared!

The pronunciation of names and places was absolutely horrendous and I winced every time (oh, and I can barely speak Spanish myself). I don’t understand how the author researched these places and events so thoroughly yet still managed to butcher something as simple as “Miguel”?!

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

interesting subject but simply not gripping my attention

I liked the general theme and some details are very interesting and shocking. Yet, I had a hard time paying attention, can't really explain why.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A fascinating listen

A well told story which raises difficult questions about big corporations, particularly banks, are managed and how the system failed.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent

I listened to this having enjoyed the author’s book on the Glazers and Manchester United. This is an excellent and forensic examination of how it is one rule for the rich and another for everyone else.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

I’m still angry, but don’t let that put you off

A good piece of journalism capturing an almost cliche example of corruption.
I like it when an author narrates their book, but Blackhurst slur and pace did grate on me. If this affects you, I would suggest you change the speed to 1.2. This helped hugely.

I couldn’t help compare the fates of El Chapo and that of Stephen Green. One is incarcerated for life and forced to pay billions, the other sits in the House of Lords and was fined.
It is clear that each actor cannot be entirely compared along these simplistic measures, but both were intimately involved in actions that led to death and suffering, and their fates were determined by their level of social acceptance. Why no one was imprisoned for this corruption is hard to fathom. Why Green is welcomed into Westminster is beyond me.
If you were cynical about the Government and banking before, this book might send you over the edge.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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Very detailed - narrator not great but superb story

Very detailed - narrator not great but superb story
Fry would have narrated this 100x better
Well worth the time to listen
Bankers are the worst.


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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliantly written spoilt by narration

This was book was so well written that I forgot that narration is obviously not in the author's skill set.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Total Greed

Great story. Took a while to get used to the narration but got there. Tells the age old story of the little guy suffering at the hands of those who put profit above everything. I will never look at HSBC in the same light although I am quite sure the others simply have not been caught yet.

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