Judge Rakoff Humiliates Mary Schapiro By Nullifying Citi MBS Settlement, Calls It "Neither Fair, Nor Reasonable, Nor In Public Interest"
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.