Citi Joins Goldman And JPMorgan In Settling Fraudulent And Misleading CDO Practices: Wristslap Costs $285 Million

Tyler Durden's picture

And so Citi becomes the third firm after Goldman and JPM to put all their gross CDO criminal (wait, allegedly, they neither admitted nor denied) activity behind them with a $285 million wristslap.

  • Citigroup will pay USD 285mln to settle SEC charges for misleading investors about selling CDOs related to housing market, according to SEC
  • Citigroup's main US broker-dealer unit misled investors about USD 1bln CDO tied to US housing market, in which Citigroup bet against investors.
  • Citigroup bet against investors as housing market showed signs of distress, SEC said
  • CDO defaulted, Citigroup made $160m in fees/trading profits
  • $285m will be returned to investors, SEC says in statement
  • SEC also faults Citigroup employee Brian Stoker and Credit Suisse portfolio manager Samir H. Bhatt

As Bloomberg reminds us, "Goldman Sachs Group Inc. agreed to pay $550 million to resolve claims it failed to tell investors in a mortgage-linked product that a hedge fund betting against the CDO helped select the underlying assets. JPMorgan Chase & Co. agreed to pay $153.6 million to resolve similar claims related to its sale of a CDO in 2007."

We leave it up to readers to calculate how much in bonuses was paid at GS, JPM and Citi over the past 4 years.

It is unclear if the Citi fine used will be courtesy of FDIC-backed TLGP notes still on Citi's books. Either way, justice is now "served."

Full release from the SEC:

Washington, D.C., Oct. 19, 2011 – The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged Citigroup’s principal U.S. broker-dealer subsidiary with misleading investors about a $1 billion collateralized debt obligation (CDO) tied to the U.S. housing market in which Citigroup bet against investors as the housing market showed signs of distress. The CDO defaulted within months, leaving investors with losses while Citigroup made $160 million in fees and trading profits.

The SEC alleges that Citigroup Global Markets structured and marketed a CDO called Class V Funding III and exercised significant influence over the selection of $500 million of the assets included in the CDO portfolio. Citigroup then took a proprietary short position against those mortgage-related assets from which it would profit if the assets declined in value. Citigroup did not disclose to investors its role in the asset selection process or that it took a short position against the assets it helped select.

Citigroup has agreed to settle the SEC’s charges by paying a total of $285 million, which will be returned to investors.

The SEC also charged Brian Stoker, the Citigroup employee primarily responsible for structuring the CDO transaction. The agency brought separate settled charges against Credit Suisse’s asset management unit, which served as the collateral manager for the CDO transaction, as well as the Credit Suisse portfolio manager primarily responsible for the transaction, Samir H. Bhatt.

“The securities laws demand that investors receive more care and candor than Citigroup provided to these CDO investors,” said Robert Khuzami, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. “Investors were not informed that Citgroup had decided to bet against them and had helped choose the assets that would determine who won or lost.”

Kenneth R. Lench, Chief of the Structured and New Products Unit in the SEC Division of Enforcement, added, “As the collateral manager, Credit Suisse also was responsible for the disclosure failures and breached its fiduciary duty to investors when it allowed Citigroup to significantly influence the portfolio selection process.”

According to the SEC’s complaints filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, personnel from Citigroup’s CDO trading and structuring desks had discussions around October 2006 about the possibility of establishing a short position in a specific group of assets by using credit default swaps (CDS) to buy protection on those assets from a CDO that Citigroup would structure and market. After discussions began with Credit Suisse Alternative Capital (CSAC) about acting as the collateral manager for a proposed CDO transaction, Stoker sent an e-mail to his supervisor. He wrote that he hoped the transaction would go forward and described it as the Citigroup trading desk head’s “prop trade (don’t tell CSAC). CSAC agreed to terms even though they don’t get to pick the assets.”

The SEC alleges that during the time when the transaction was being structured, CSAC allowed Citigroup to exercise significant influence over the selection of assets included in the Class V III portfolio. The transaction was marketed primarily through a pitch book and an offering circular for which Stoker was chiefly responsible. The pitch book and the offering circular were materially misleading because they failed to disclose that Citigroup had played a substantial role in selecting the assets and had taken a $500 million short position that was comprised of names it had been allowed to select. Citigroup did not short names that it had no role in selecting. Nothing in the disclosures put investors on notice that Citigroup had interests that were adverse to the interests of CDO investors.

According to the SEC’s complaints, the Class V III transaction closed on Feb. 28, 2007. One experienced CDO trader characterized the Class V III portfolio in an e-mail as “dogsh!t” and “possibly the best short EVER!” An experienced collateral manager commented that “the portfolio is horrible.” On Nov. 7, 2007, a credit rating agency downgraded every tranche of Class V III, and on Nov. 19, 2007, Class V III was declared to be in an Event of Default. The approximately 15 investors in the Class V III transaction lost virtually their entire investments while Citigroup received fees of approximately $34 million for structuring and marketing the transaction and additionally realized net profits of at least $126 million from its short position.

The SEC alleges that Citigroup and Stoker each violated Sections 17(a)(2) and (3) of the Securities Act of 1933. While the SEC’s litigation continues against Stoker, Citigroup has consented to settle the SEC’s charges without admitting or denying the SEC’s allegations. The settlement is subject to court approval. Citigroup consented to the entry of a final judgment that enjoins it from violating these provisions. The settlement requires Citigroup to pay $160 million in disgorgement plus $30 million in prejudgment interest and a $95 million penalty for a total of $285 million that will be returned to investors through a Fair Fund distribution. The settlement also requires remedial action by Citigroup in its review and approval of offerings of certain mortgage-related securities.

The SEC instituted related administrative proceedings against CSAC, its successor in interest Credit Suisse Asset Management (CSAM), and Bhatt. The SEC found that as a result of the roles that they played in the asset selection process and the preparation of the pitch book and the offering circular for the Class V III transaction, CSAM and CSAC violated Section 206(2) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (Advisers Act) and Section 17(a)(2) of the Securities Act and that Bhatt violated Section 17(a)(2) of the Securities Act and caused the violations of Section 206(2) of the Advisers Act by CSAC.

Without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings, CSAM and CSAC consented to the issuance of an order directing each of them to cease and desist from committing or causing any violations, or future violations, of Section 206(2) of the Advisers Act and Section 17(a)(2) of the Securities Act and requiring them to pay disgorgement of $1 million in fees that it received from the Class V III transaction plus $250,000 in prejudgment interest, and requiring them to pay a penalty of $1.25 million. Without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings, Bhatt consented to the issuance of an order directing him to cease and desist from committing or causing any violations or future violations of Section 206(2) of the Advisers Act and Section 17(a)(2) of the Securities Act and suspending him from association with any investment adviser for a period of six months.

The SEC’s investigation was conducted by Andrew H. Feller and Thomas D. Silverstein of the Enforcement Division’s Structured and New Products Unit with assistance from Steven Rawlings, Brenda Chang and Elisabeth Goot of the New York Regional Office. The SEC trial attorney who will lead the litigation against Stoker is Jeffrey Infelise.

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AngryGerman's picture

what they do? CDOs? no idea what that is

(memory loss due to BS overflow)

Unprepared's picture

JUSTICE: A dish better served hot

metastar's picture

CDO = Trinity, Death, Destroyer of Worlds.

sqz's picture

Actually, justice may not yet be fully served. Consider,

Goldman fined $550 million. Reason: not telling investors in the Abacus CDO deal that a hedge fund run by Paulson selected some of the assets as well as shorted it.

Citi fined $285 million. Reason: for selling a CDO deal to clients on which it then actively took a short position for its own book. Citi made $160 million profit from this deal.

Why the discrepancy? If all else is equal, either Goldman Sachs was massively overcharged for a lesser crime or Citi got off very lightly for a much more economically damaging crime.

Apparently, the famous Judge Jed S. Rakoff (famous for being one of the few judges who took a government regulator to task for going soft on financial institutions) may be about to look at the case ...

Pladizow's picture

What's the difference between a bank and a kinky shepard?

Nothing - They both fuck the sheep!

eatthebanksters's picture

turds painted with fake gold...

mjk0259's picture

Less than 1% of profits on same. Should be RICO'ed.

stirners_ghost's picture

Or you could measure it against the $300B in bailouts and guarantees to keep them afloat after they blew themselves up with this nonsense.

That's ~0.1%.

karzai_luver's picture

yep, out of this world sad.


And, you can measure it "somehow" by the ongoing Bernanke bailouts that keep them afloat to this very HOUR!


Just us  bitchezz. no bankster left behind.


The Big Ching-aso's picture

Fat Cats will do whatever's necessary to stay fat.

disabledvet's picture

Again "they're called dwarfs" not midgets. There's a difference.

FunkyMonkeyBoy's picture

Who gets the money from the fine?

Pladizow's picture

It's deposited in the bank!

FunkyMonkeyBoy's picture


This whole financial 'system' is a scam upon a scam upon a scam, wrapped in a ponzi scheme that is a daily shell-game to inspire a condifence trick.

The only honest thing about this system is the toil of the peoples labor... the wealth generated by their labor is then stolen by the system to be used against them so they have to toil some more.

Bob's picture

I get the feeling that when people speak of theft of people's labor, they're speaking primarily in terms of the recent past, present and foreseeable future. 

Yet the fact is that accumulated present wealth represents the labor of humanity since its beginning.  The accumulated wealth of our species over thousands of years. 

Everything we've ever built over all our history to date. 

Could crime get bigger than that?

At what point do we recognize something like this as a World War of the banksters upon the rest of humanity?

texpat's picture

This is utter fucking bullshit, but may in the long term be worth it, since the only possible reaction is to come out into the street.

#OWS #ThisIsWhy

Cheyenne's picture

Crime pays when you're a welfare bailout bank unable to compete.

And people wonder what fuels the OWS movement. Really?

junkyardjack's picture

The working man's a sucker

The Big Ching-aso's picture

And some suckers are working on men

karzai_luver's picture

and just think, try really hard, to think of what would NOW be required to change any of that type of scam.


There are the deluded and the bankster/corrupters that will say, just enforce the laws, well there you go , now that's all behind us, right? the LAW being all enforced and stuff like dat!


ho HA bitchexxxxxxxzzzzzzzzzzzzz


Deadpool's picture

that's $988,600,000,000 all totaled with BofA and Wells still to go...where is all that money piling up? SEC? FDIC (I wish)? Fed?? "which will be returned to investors"?!? so they get made whole and the banks issue a new preferred to cover it! outrageous.

dick cheneys ghost's picture

Banksters dont know how to prosecute Banksters.............

A_MacLaren's picture

And another criminal earns billions on its crimes, as one of the deferred costs of doing business is subsequently realized.

Racer's picture

The more they get away with things like this the sooner and more violent the Revolution will be

tocointhephrase's picture

Keep on occupying! No justice no peace!

lizzy36's picture

If memory serves 2010 total US banking bonus pool was just slightly north of $30B. So assume about $100B over the last 4 years.

So all these "wrist slaps" account for about 1% of total bonus pool.

Any which way one looks at it, it is a pretty cheap cost of "doing business".

Racer's picture

the 'business' of running a pyramid scheme, running a  racket, stealing money from taxpayers, pimping debt slaves

Gubbmint Cheese's picture

So $285m in fines.. but how much did they make on the original sin? A few billion? Dear SEC: When the 'fine' is less than the amount made on the trade, its called "commission".

The Limerick King's picture



Injustice has reached a new peak

It's a lie each time Oligarchs speak

With Kleptocracy growing

The blood will start flowing

The earth will be seized by the meek




UP Forester's picture

OT:  Did I just miss it here, that the DOE is contracting out MiniTru duties, and memory-holing prior press releases stating SunPower got $1.187 Billion in loans and replacing it with NRG getting the funds?

I saw it on CNBS, so it must have been here at least a week ago.  The PR that Winston changed was dated April 12th, so I could have missed the ZH article....

dick cheneys ghost's picture


Rand Paul questioning Timmy yesterday............must see......

bankonzhongguo's picture

Face it.  All these "fines" are being paid with POMO profits.

They are out nothing. 

We are still out everything.

They will bailout banks, manipulate balance sheets, instill regulatory protections, but they never forgive one penny of one undischargable student loan debt or mortgage arrears.

That is the world we live in.

Debt slaves.

Bob's picture

Textbook criminal fraud. 

The psychopath that is the Corporate Person needs some laws to keep him in line.

How about a "Three Strikes" sentencing rule for habitual corporate criminals that will revoke the corporate charter on the third felony by executive management?

If it works for petty addicts and thieves, it seems only fair.  If corps are real people, shouldn't we treat them as such?

I could see boards finding Jesus with that one.

Otherwise, finding Him at the end of a rope is inevitable, imo. 


NotApplicable's picture

Hell, the whole point of state business charters is that a business could be dissolved with a single strike, if warranted.

Bob's picture

Aside from unleveling the playing field in favor of big capital. 

When is Ron Paul gonna come out against the government "interference" that legitimizes this insanity?

DollarDive's picture

How about giving that money back to the middle class - Thiev'en bastards.  I never understood these settlements with banks and governments.  The government takes money from the "private" companies, effectively taking it from shareholders.  Does any of that money ever see its' way back to the customers ? Complete banking cartel bullshit.  Banks and Governments have each other's backs.

Jena's picture

Bank Transfer Day November 5th, 2011


• Research your local credit union options  (or community bank, if applicable)

 • Open an account with the one that best suits your needs

• Cancel all automatic withdrawals & deposits

• Transfer your funds to the new account 

• Follow your bank's procedures to close your account on or before 11/05

• Spread the word! 


Bank Transfer Day encourages supporters to close their accounts just as they opened them-- independently, with respect and without signage. When asked why you're closing your account, feel free to be frank. Calmly communicating your reasons for closing your account are vastly different from causing a public disturbance. While we understand that many of you feel very strongly about this, please remember that the employees at your local bank branch have no control over the structure of their company. As banks are private property, signage or a group demonstration will likely result in your being asked to leave. If you refuse, you can be arrested for trespassing. Let's keep this peaceful & legal!


Why Was BTD Started:

 The Durbin Amendment is an add-on to the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Public Law No. 111-203), signed into law by President Barack Obama on July 21, 2010. The Act allows the Federal Reserve to regulate debit card interchange fees of banks with over $10 billion in assets. Over the summer, the Fed released the final rule on the matter by limiting debit card interchange fees to a maximum of 21¢ per transaction.


In response, these corporate-level banks have decided that beginning early 2012 any consumer with less than $20,000 in combined accounts will be charged a monthly $3-5 fee if they use their debit card at any point during the month. This new fee clearly targets the impoverished & working class. After endless research, the organizer concluded that her money would be put to better use on the local level through not-for-profit credit unions.


• With the Durbin Amendment in effect, banks will still make 19¢ profit per processed transaction [*1]

• The average consumer uses his/her debit card 24 times per month [*2]

• Without the additional fee, Bank of America stands to turn a $3,228,480,000 annual profit from its 59 million customers' debit card transactions [*3]

• Without the additional fee, Wells Fargo stands to turn a $2,626,560,000 annual profit from its 48 million customers' debit card transactions [*4]

• Without the additional fee, JP Morgan (Chase) stands to turn a $4,924,800,000 annual profit from its 90 million customers' debit card transactions [*5]


The organizer, Kristen Christian has said, "I started this because I felt like many of you do. I was tired-- tired of the fee increases, tired of not being able to access my money when I need to, tired of them using what little money I have to oppress my brothers & sisters. So I stood up. I've been shocked at how many people have stood up alongside me. With each person who RSVPs to this event, my heart swells. Me closing my account all on my lonesome wouldn't have made a difference to these fat cats. But each of YOU standing up with me... they can't drown out the noise we'll make."











Schmuck Raker's picture

" It is unclear if the Citi fine used will be courtesy of FDIC-backed TLGP notes still on Citi's books. Either way, justice is now "served." "


This reminds me of some of the charming traditions encompassed in Sharia Law. Especially the stoning of rape victims.

The US taxpayer now playing the part of the heroine.

Mr. Lucky's picture

I have to ask; are the fines deductable?

lunaticfringe's picture

There is absolutely nothing that pisses me off more than watching our worthless government extorting some fine money from bankers. Wrist tap. The crooks don't get prosecuted, government grabs some BS headline and pretends that they have done something. The government is not the victim. Government is a co-conspirator. Stealing a few million here or there does nothing to restore the millions of Americans that are the victims. What a fucking sorry ass country we've become.

slewie the pi-rat's picture

so there is gonna be a trial for the 'litigation' against stoker

but no criminal charges?

he'll probably countersue them (as an "agency" and as individuals) and win! 

seriously, tho:  if these acts and actors weren't "regulated by the SEC" they would be up on RICO charges, right?  this is respectability!  if you and i and some other pirates cooked up something like this, everybody involved would get shaken down. including spouses, children, and pets

so, stoker is the fall guy, the patsy, the sacrifial lamb, and he will be very well cared for, since he frees everybody else involved to enjoy their careers!

what a country!


karzai_luver's picture

shame on you for giving the bottom line in public.


Once again the horrible for biz "REGULATIONS" seem to work out very well for those who wrote and funded them.


How could I have known that?



eatthebanksters's picture

Here's the analogy of TBTF banks and the Fed and guv'ment continued attempts to support their corrupt ways...the TBTF banks are the drug dealers dealing the worst shit, heroin and oxycontin, the real bad stuff.  They have done a great job of creating a society where 99.9% of the people are addicted to their product with explicit and tacit government approval.  The Fed is the senior management of the operation.  What the Fed and the Government and the TBTF banks are worried about is lack of supply.  With diminishing supply they lose money and junkies go nuts without their fix.  It's pretty clear that the supply has diminished and what is out there is being hoarded by the dealers...the junkies are starting to get uncomfortable and you are seeing them in action.  And just in case the dealers decide to water down the product (inflation) then the junkies will revolt as well.  This scenario has no happy ending.  The world is about to go through severe withdrawls.  Kyle Bass said it best recently when he said that we can manage a painful restructuring or g through a very painful involuntary restructuring.  Methadone or cold turkey, those are the only choices. Either way we're fucked.

Eat the Banksters!

williambanzai7's picture

This news comes out and the media will continue working on characterizing OWS as a radical latte sipping socialist hippy commie anarchist movement engaged in a war on wealth and according to the latest, anti semitism.

Wall Street 3
Justice 0

Why is it so surprising people are furious.

Hephasteus's picture

I bet they still don't buy any bloomberg terminals.

theprofromdover's picture

If you don't 'admit or deny' the allegations, then surely the case isn't closed; and can be re-visited at any point in the future.

Bansters-in-my- feces's picture

285 BILLION $Dollar fine and NO ONE gets charged even...????


The USA needs a justice department.

NOT pervs watching porn.