Consider the current events (at the time of this post Dec. 11, 2018), as the CFO of Huawei is detained. Exactly what charged will be leveled against her have not yet been revealed, but there is already wide suspicion that she will face sanction violating charges.
When I first heard this story, I thought to myself: "what will we see here, the Streisand effect, whereby more and more people start to get curious about Huawei, or will we see the Franz Ferdinand effect whereby actions spiral into escalation of conflict?"
Then I thought to myself, let's not get too dramatic, let's just start with the basics. Even if the sanctions violations are true, who is implicated? While CFO is indeed a lofty position, she is not a banking institution herself. The technology products Huawei sells to whatever country is in question still needs to be facilitated by a bank, at some level anyway.
So let me get to my question. Assuming she is found guilty, perhaps that would also implicate the bank. Or, maybe it could be that the individual and the bank going to take the rap for breaking sanctions. So which is it? In the context of international law, who should take responsibility (individual or bank)?
My hunch is telling me to be dubious, seeing as in 2012, HSBC was merely fined $2 billion for facilitating billions of dollars worth of cartel money. 2 billion sounds like a lot, but it's estimated that was just 5 or 6 weeks worth of "work". So with the Huaiwei sanction issue, I wonder if the law will actually have teeth on the bank involved, or if it will be just a repeat of the 2012 fines. I think we can all see the moral hazard here; if the punishment is a small percentage of your profit, why not violate sanctions, whether you are an individual or an institution.