The lack of prosecution of bankers responsible for the great financial collapse has been a hotly debated topic over the years, leading to the coinage of such terms as "Too Big To Prosecute", the termination of at least one corrupt DOJ official, the revelation that Eric Holder is the most useless Attorney General in history, and even members of the judicial bashing other members of the judicial such as in last night's essay by district judge Jed Rakoff. And naturally, the lack of incentives that punish cheating and fraud, is one of the main reasons why such fraud will not only continue but get bigger and bigger, until once again, the entire system crashes under the weight of all the corruption and all the Fed-driven malinvestment. But what can be done? In this case, Vietnam may have just shown America the way - use the death penalty on convicted embezzling bankers. Because if one wants to promptly stop an end to financial crime, there is nothing quite like the fear of death to halt it.
- Helicopter QE will never be reversed (Evans-Pritchard)
- Bank of Japan Launches Easing Campaign under new leadership (WSJ)
- Draghi Considers Plan B as Sentiment Dims After Cyprus Fumble (BBG)
- Spain threatened by resurgent credit crunch (FT)
- U.S. Dials Back on Korean Show of Force (WSJ)
- Gillard Urges Aussie Firms to Emulate German Deutschmark Success (BBG)
- Bank watchdog warns on retail branches (FT)
- Xi's Russia visit confirms continuity of ties (China Daily)
- Portuguese Government Survives No-Confidence Vote (WSJ)
- Mortgage rates set for fall, Bank of England survey shows (Telegraph)
- Russia’s bank chief warns on economy (FT)
- Fed member hints at summer slowing of QE3 (FT)
Giddens ought to approach the bankruptcy judge and suggest that they both apply to Judge Rakoff for the appointment of a receiver in the MF Global bankruptcy.
- Tapping oil from the SPR may be trickier than ever (Reuters)
- Why Quantitative Easing Is The Only Game in Town: Martin Wolf (FT)
- Lacker Says Fed May Need to Raise Target Interest Rate in 2013 (Bloomberg)
- Japan Debt-Financing Concern Clouds BOJ’s Bond Buying (Bloomberg) No worries - US will just buy Japan's bonds
- IMF Approves €28bn Loan to Greece (FT)
- Banks Want Fed to Iron Out 'Maiden' (WSJ)
- China 'Wealth Exodus' Underestimated (China Daily)
- Geithner Calls For Reforms to Boost Growth (FT)
- China Adds Treasuries For First Time Since July on Europe Woes (Bloomberg)
- Osborne Weighs 50p Tax Rate Cut To 45p (FT)
Why would Mary and her friends lie?
Judge Rakoff Humiliates Mary Schapiro By Nullifying Citi MBS Settlement, Calls It "Neither Fair, Nor Reasonable, Nor In Public Interest"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 11/28/2011 13:01 -0400
Once again Judge Jed Rakoff, also known as the only person in the Southern District of New York who calls out the SEC consistently and routinely on their corruption, has ruined the day for both Mary Schapiro and for Vic Pandit, by making the proposed $285 million MBS fraud settlement wrist slap null and void, and setting a trial date for July 16, 2012 in which Citigroup will actually face a jury and defend itself to peers instead of to future Citi employees in the form of SEC porn addicts. It is unclear if the reversal is a bigger slap in the face for Citi or for the SEC, but one thing is certain: both parties are to be massively embarassed as a result of this ruling which essentially says that both entities are culpable - the first of committing a far greater crime than the $285 mm fine deems fit, and the second of being a complicit enabler of precisely this kind of criminal behavior which it then fines with some token amount and things can continue as they were. And just like in the case of SEC vs BofA, Rakoff crucifies the SEC's worthless organizationL: "the Court concludes, regretfully, that the proposed Consent Judgment is neither fair, nor reasonable, nor adequate, nor in the public interest." He continues: "Most fundamentally, this is because it does not provide the Court with a sufficient evidentiary basis to know whether the requested relief is justified under any of these standards. Purely private parties can settle a case without ever agreeing on the facts, for all that is required is that a plaintiff dismiss his complaint. But when a public agency asks a court to become its partner in enforcement by imposing wide-ranging injunctive remedies on a defendant, enforced by the formidable judicial power of contempt, the court, and the public, need some knowledge of what the underlying facts are: for otherwise, the court becomes a mere handmaiden to a settlement privately negotiated on the basis of unknown facts, while the public is deprived of ever knowing the truth in a matter of obvious public importance." It really, really is time for Schapiro to resign after this gross public smackdown by a member of the court who has just chided her for not doing precisely what she is paid millions to do. That said we can only hope that Rakoff does not drop the ball like he did last time around when he was about to sue Ken Lewis yet pulled out in the last minute. Realistically, what happens is SEC will fine Citi with a much greater fine, probably $500MM or so, and Rakoff will end up approving the settlement, because as the status quo slowly implodes, nothing really changes until everything finally crashes.
Jed Rakoff is well known to frequent readers of Zero Hedge: he is the judge who nearly brought down the SEC settlement with Bank of America over the whole bonus non-disclosure issue two years ago, and where Bank of America effectively acted under the duress of Hank Paulson and Ben Bernanke. Granted at the end of the day he sided with the status quo., but this may be his chance to redeem himself. Just out from Bloomberg:
- CITIGROUP'S $285 MILLION SEC SETTLEMENT QUESTIONED BY JUDGE
- CITIGROUP JUDGE ASKS PARTIES TO JUSTIFY FAIRNESS OF SETTLEMENT
- SEC CLAIMED CITIGROUP MISLED INVESTORS IN $1 BILLION CDO
For those who live and breathe solely to know how Stevie Cohen has performed at any given moment, we have an update. According to Bloomberg's Hedge Funds brief, SAC Capital told investors last week that his main hedge fund is up 9.2% year to date. It is unclear if he provided any further insight into the firm's troubled relationship with various regulators and law enforcement officials. Some other fund update from Bloomberg. Balestra Capital Partners LP was negative 2.37 percent last month and has lost 7.63 percent year-to-date, according to its monthly results and commentary sent to investors. Brencourt Advisors LLC’s $260 million Brencourt Multi-Strategy Fund lost 90 basis points to drop year-to-date returns to 2.84 percent, according to an email update sent to investors. The merger arbitrage fund gained 22 basis points last month and has returned 2.17 percent through June 30. The Brencourt Credit Opportunities Fund lost 0.95 percent and has returned 3.39 percent in 2011. Broadfin Capital LLC’s Broadfin Healthcare Fund LP returned nearly 9 percent in the second quarter, according to its quarterly letter to investors, a copy of which was obtained by Bloomberg. Long positions in Alkermes Inc. and Hi-Tech Pharmacal Co. Inc. “were the largest drivers of the fund’s performance,” the letter said. The New York-based fund is managed by Kevin Kotler. Summarizing returns by strategy for 2010 and 2011 (table below) shows quite vividly that what worked back in 2010 is no longer in vogue, although the main exception - the best strategy for both years - continues to be Mortgage-Backed arbitrage. Although most curious for some may be that none other than John Paulson is now officially the biggest fan of John Boehner. Read on.
Former SAC portfolio manager Donald Longueuil has just pled guilty to charges of insider trading (before the (in)famous Judge Jed Rakoff) in Federal District Court in Manhattan. Dealbook reports: "Mr. Longueuil described in court how after reading news reports about the government’s insider trading last fall he destroyed his hard drive that contained incriminating evidence. The government, however, dropped its obstruction of justice charge against Mr. Longueuil. Under the plea agreement with the government, Mr. Longueuil faces a prison sentence between 46 months to 57 months. Judge Rakoff could depart from those guidelines." And he certainly will if Longueuil, who is a cooperating witness, drops some juicy bombs about every DA's public enemoy number one: ole Crown Lane, Greenwich residing blue eyes himself.
Over drinks at a bar on a dreary, snowy night in Washington this past month, a former Senate investigator laughed as he polished off his beer. "Everything's fucked up, and nobody goes to jail," he said. "That's your whole story right there. Hell, you don't even have to write the rest of it. Just write that." I put down my notebook. "Just that?" "That's right," he said, signaling to the waitress for the check. "Everything's fucked up, and nobody goes to jail. You can end the piece right there." One has to consider the powerful deterrent to further wrongdoing that the state is missing by not introducing this particular class of people to the experience of incarceration. "You put Lloyd Blankfein in pound-me-in-the-ass prison for one six-month term, and all this bullshit would stop, all over Wall Street," says a former congressional aide. "That's all it would take. Just once."
It was immensely refreshing to find an actual probing piece of investigative journalism coming out of Reuters, instead of the traditional regurgitated, opinion-based, fluff-filled, secondary source monologues (we prefer the British spelling) we have become accustomed to seeing out of the Thomson Reuters behemoth. In a rare example of how even the MSM gets it right sometimes, Matt Goldstein has done an admirable job of connecting the dots based on a FOIA request he had submitted to the FDIC, in which the insolvent (as of today) Deposit Insurer has provided Goldstein with a unique glimpse into the daily travails and activities of its boss, Sheila Bair, and how they may have a direct bearing on the future of none other, than a very troubled Chief Executive Officer.
One of the pieces we highlights in today's frontrunning was commentary by Susan Antilla at Bloomberg, discussing the perfect world in which the SEC wasn't merely yet another tentacle of the Wall Street syndicate, slapping wrists and issuing statements now and then to remind of its worthless existence. One of Susan's points brilliantly Swiftian in its simplicity: "Considering the blinding evidence of dysfunction, it occurs to me that enough is enough. Why not just shut the place down?" Many would say this is such an obvious observation that it has escaped the thinking of the majority. Yet when this market bubble pops, which it eventually will, unless the Fed can somehow find a way to bring the value of the dollar to 0, a furious America will once again demand the heads of those who were supposed to oversee the irrational exuberance in progress. At that point Mary's tenure will be over, yet the travesty that is the SEC will likely continue in some form. However, there is a chance for an earlier resolution. Judge Rakoff, who so far has been the critical voice of sanity in a corrupt world, may cross paths with Mary even before her ultimate downfall. And he is not happy with the "regulators"
A "folk heroish", conscientious, objective and honest jurist gone wild is to a bidetesqueTM, pandering, complicit and conflicted Wall Street sycophant, as Judge Jed Rakoff is to...
"We are at this stage in our investigation in which we are making charging decisions with respect to Bank of America and its executives."
How poetic would it be if Madoff and Ken share a jailcell?
Dear Senator Kaufman, we at Zero Hedge applaud your effort to bring transparency to, and evaluate the various new forces that, for better or worse, determine the modern market landscape. However, we would like to bring to your attention a fact which renders your entire approach of seeking fair and unbiased commentary from the SEC irrevocably moot. The reason is that the SEC, in alignment with many of the very industry players who may be abusing market structure for their own tiered benefit, stands to benefit significantly from an increased amount of daytrading volume across all markets, and, in fact, based on actions as recent as 4 months ago by the SEC, the regulator is well aware of the monetary benefits that ever-increasing churn creates for the commission and is fully intent on capitalizing on them. We thus suggest you bypass any protocol that has an SEC intermediation and go directly to penning a Bill which, we trust, will prove to be more fair and objective than anything the SEC would ever provide you with. The reason for the SEC's insurmountable conflict of interest is the so-called Section 31.