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The SEC's Co-Chief Counsel On Derivatives (Such As Abacus), Worked As Outside Counsel For Paulson & Co, And Signed Off... On Abacus

Tyler Durden's picture




 

The surprises of SEC's infinite revolving door conflicts of interest never cease to amaze (or, for that matter end). Andrew Ross Sorkin has taken some time from his busy media whirlwind tour schedule and conducted some actual investigative reporting for a change, discovering that the SEC's co-chief counsel in charge of helping write derivative rules, Adam Glass, who previously testified about Goldman's Abacus, the culprit for the biggest SEC settlement in history against a Wall Street firm, had some very specific inside knowledge vis-a-vis Abacus. He signed off on it. Writes Sorkin: "Before working on the financial crisis cleanup, he helped create the opaque securities that contributed to the mess...For many years, Mr. Glass served as the outside counsel to Paulson & Company...And yes, Mr. Glass, in that role, signed off on Abacus, which was created specifically for the hedge fund to short subprime mortgages. Mr. Paulson handpicked some of the underlying investments in the derivative...The government, in its complaint, claimed that Goldman had "misstated and omitted key facts regarding" Abacus, including disclosing Mr. Paulson's role in its creation. The firm paid $550 million to settle the case, without admitting or denying guilt...his role once again raises questions about the revolving door between Washington and Wall Street at a time when public distrust about the agency and its lack of enforcement action against the culprits of the crisis is running high..."If he was involved in Abacus, how is he supposed to police it?" We are not sure if we are more confused by the fact that Sorkin has actually done some actual research or that yet another SEC crony is exposed to be in the pocket of Wall Street's rich and powerful. Actually, the former. Certainly the former.

More from Dealbook:

"The revolving door is such a dominant fact about the S.E.C.'s culture," said John C. Coffee Jr., a Columbia Law School professor. "You get people who go to Washington for one to three years and then go back to Wall Street."

 

The pattern has been well documented. According to the Project on Government Oversight, 219 former S.E.C. staff members filed 789 "postemployment statements indicating their intent to represent an outside client before the commission" from 2006 to 2010. In other words, the one-time government officials are representing Wall Street clients with matters before the agency.

 

While clearly there are questions about whether the public wants someone in government who just came from industry, the opposite argument can be made, too: It may be better to have the fox in the henhouse.

 

President Franklin D. Roosevelt "justified appointing Joe Kennedy as chairman of the S.E.C. with the line: 'You need to set a thief to catch a thief,' " said Professor Coffee. "That is the case for bringing in an industry expert."

 

After all, the best way for the government to stay ahead of financial innovations -- or at least not fall too far behind -- is to employ people who know them best.
...
Mr. Glass, who has long advocated more regulation of derivatives in certain instances, came to the S.E.C. with a strong finance pedigree. A graduate of Harvard and of Stanford Law School, Mr. Glass was a partner at Linklaters, where he founded the firm's structured finance and derivatives practice.

 

In addition to Paulson & Company, he counted Deutsche Bank and Lehman Brothers among his top clients. Mr. Glass was not involved in the controversial opinion that Linklaters issued to Lehman about a practice known as Repo 105 that has come under scrutiny. The tactic allowed Lehman to conceal billions of dollars on its balance sheet.

 

Mr. Glass took a big pay cut to become a civil servant. The average Linklaters partner made about $2.3 million in 2008, the year before he left, according to Legal Week, an industry publication. The most Mr. Glass could make at the S.E.C. is $233,000.

 

When I asked Mr. Glass about his deposition in the Tourre case and his role as the lawyer for Mr. Paulson in the Abacus transaction, he said, "Yes, that would be true." He then directed me to the S.E.C.'s spokesman, who quickly issued a "no comment."

 

Spokesmen for Mr. Tourre and Mr. Paulson also declined to comment.

And so forth. All those surprised raise your hands.

h/t Manal Mehta

 

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Tue, 08/02/2011 - 10:06 | 1516523 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

 

.....discovering that the SEC's co-chief counsel in charge of helping write derivative rules, Adam Glass, who previously testified about Goldman's Abacus, the culprit for the biggest SEC settlement in history against a Wall Street firm, had some very specific inside knowledge vis-a-vis Abacus. He signed off on it.

A perfect example of the revolving door that moves useless fools, puppets and occasionally a master from chair to chair. Make the mess, clean cover it up, then create more legal loop holes for the next thieving.

If I wrote a book of fiction about this stuff it would immediately be laughed all the way to the remainder table as totally unrealistic. Ya can't make this shit up.

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 10:10 | 1516553 Careless Whisper
Careless Whisper's picture

Make the mess... 

It's called Financial Innovation. Get with the program.

http://www.martindale.com/Adam-W-Glass/501972-lawyer.htm

 

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 10:24 | 1516612 Cdad
Cdad's picture

Any day now, Mary Schapiro is going to wrap up her 18 month long meetings with Lloyd Blankfein and Jamie Dimon about which SEC regulations she should enforce and which ones she should just forget about.  And when that happens, I'm quite sure she will finally have time to investigate the obvious corruption within her agency and take action to correct it.  

Any day now...holding my breath... 

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 10:27 | 1516626 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Brother Cdad,

I don't care if you turn blue in the face and die an ugly death; I ain't doing mouth to mouth.

It's the principal of the thingy. I hope you understand?

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 10:34 | 1516648 Cdad
Cdad's picture

Understood brother Cog,

When that time comes, I'll be looking forward to the sweet release, anyway...unless maybe if baby blythe is around.

No hard feelings on the matter.  Come what may...

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 10:03 | 1516530 scatterbrains
scatterbrains's picture

shush! and eat your peas bitches.

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 10:05 | 1516537 TheLooza
TheLooza's picture

Good hire for the SEC.  At least they hired someone who understands complex financial instruments.

 

The SEC guys I deal with are (with some notable exceptions) pretty underwhelming in the brains department.

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 11:05 | 1516732 sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

They hire a bunch of $150K/yr lawyers who have no fucking clue about finance then hire a few corrupt finance guys who used to work for Wall Street and will be coming back for a nice director job after their stint with the SEC. That's why it doesn't matter how much regulation there is - the criminals will continue to get away with it while the honest ones will follow the laws and be handicapped.

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 10:08 | 1516548 bania
bania's picture

***BANIA'S JOKE OF THE DAY***

Q: Why does Bernanke dislike gold so much?

A: Because he is Au-llergic.

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 10:21 | 1516599 rsnoble
rsnoble's picture

A U !!!!! Bring back my gold!!!

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 10:23 | 1516611 rsnoble
rsnoble's picture

That was a comment from some short fat dude that was a science teacher in high school trying to make a game out of learning the periodic table.

Imagine me surprise one early am sitting in class high as hell from dope when a 16lb bowling ball came roaring down the aisle past my desk from behend and smashed into the wall in front of the classroom at 50mph knocking shit everywhere.  That was the days lesson on inertia.  Wow, never a dull moment in that class.

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 11:35 | 1516791 TheLooza
TheLooza's picture

my bowling alley caps out at 14 lb balls.  Is that normal?

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 10:10 | 1516554 rsnoble
rsnoble's picture

The damage is done.  It will manifest soon.  Of course for avg joe it already has, but not near the degree of the full-on onslaught im expecting.  Not saying we don't have a circle-jerk for awhile after this debt crap passes, if it does which is most likely. 

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 10:18 | 1516590 rsnoble
rsnoble's picture

BTW downgrades=higher house payments not to mention other things.  Back to the good ole days 20% down payment?  Yeah right, houses will be flying off the shelf.  I would say nation of renters but a $1200 rent payment working at Mcdonalds??  Sounds like a lot of homeless and numerous families living in one house.  Unfortunately I have an extra residence on my property.  You wouldn't understand the 'unfortunate' comment unless you've been thru it.  Since I am doing ok, despite my previous bitchings(getting by, just not rolling in it like I was) I have a feeling I am going to be putting several names in a hat of friends of mine that are out of work with kids and someone will be getting a free place to stay in trade for 1/2 the yard work.  You have to be pretty selective, you'd be surprised how worthless some people can be and relatives are the worse.  I had a studio apt in my barn also but after getting fucked more than once I converted it into a gym and gave it to a couple cats. 

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 10:11 | 1516556 PulauHantu29
PulauHantu29's picture

Hi sresponse:

"Hey, it's a small world. I had no idea....."

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 10:10 | 1516557 lizzy36
lizzy36's picture

Jesus, Sorkin wrote this. Holy shit.

Pilar Queen, must be soooo proud.

Groundhog day isn't so funny anymore.

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 10:11 | 1516560 fuu
fuu's picture

Hanging's too good for them.

Burning's too good for them!

They should be torn into little bitsy pieces and buried alive!

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 10:24 | 1516615 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Hanged, drawn and quartered sounds reasonable to me. Just sayin, what was good for 1351 England should be good enough for us.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanged,_drawn_and_quartered

 

To be hanged, drawn and quartered was from 1351 a penalty in England for men convicted of high treason,

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 10:34 | 1516647 fuu
fuu's picture

High Treason sounds about right.

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 10:39 | 1516659 Dan Hot
Tue, 08/02/2011 - 10:46 | 1516673 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Thank God the powers that be play nicer now-a-days. Of course the citizens of Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Pakistan etc might have something to say about America playing nice.

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 10:12 | 1516561 game theory
game theory's picture

Our gov't looks alot like a criminal organization.  If you are not part of the con, you are getting conned.   Usually enough people get handouts from the game to stay pacified.  But lately, people have been seeing behind the curtain and are realizing just how much they are getting shafted.  So watch carefully for novel attempts to hide the manipulation that occurs between DC and Wall Street. For example...a debt deal that doesn't reduce the debt...or Fed rate setting actions that benefit only bankers...or asset seizures. 

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 10:35 | 1516649 A Man without Q...
A Man without Qualities's picture

When Enron collapsed, it turned out they had been able to hide loss making assets in subisidiaries , without having to consolidate, as long as there was a 3% outside ownership.  They set up a idea called Friends of Enron, which offered equity in the vehicles, but with a 95% loan (i.e. you put in 5%) and a guaranteed 10% dividend, with the understanding that you could sell at any time.  (There was a clever way around insider dealing restrictions that you were allowed to sell at any time as long as it was to repay a loan from the same entity, which was very popular with the likes of Tyco, Worldcom etc, but also useful here).   Anyway, it turned out many of those in Congress were in on this sweet deal, as I recall, something like 60 senators, I mean everyone was at it.  Michael Lewis wrote a great piece for Bloomberg, but it got pulled a few days later and never reappeared.  I remember he finished the article by asking the question - so who in the Whitehouse was also in on the deal?  

The "establishment" basically says that if something is legal, the question of morality is irrelevant, because laws are always fair.  It's just a shame the either don't read or don't understand most of what they vote on, because they always use these excuses.  

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 10:53 | 1516686 karzai_luver
karzai_luver's picture

fukin class warfare again always with the class wellfa ooopppsss warfare.

 

Laws are for the rich...............to punish the saps always.

 

pea soup with a dash of bankster cum on chillins!!!!

 

Pull the plow and keep your head down in the presence of your masters!

 

 

 

 

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 10:17 | 1516565 Mercury
Mercury's picture

It's splitting hairs to call this guy a hero http://www.zerohedge.com/article/profiling-big-shorts-michael-burry

and Paulson/Goldman thugs for doing essentially the same thing (albeit with greater resources at their disposal).

If Goldman Sachs is trying to sell you one of their shiny new custom designed structured products that they're taking the other side of....buyer beware.

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 10:22 | 1516594 unununium
unununium's picture

Are you kidding?

We outsiders try to profit by figuring out the rigged games, and resent your lumping us in with the game-riggers.

Totally different ballgame.

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 10:41 | 1516661 Mercury
Mercury's picture

<moved>

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 10:28 | 1516630 Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden's picture

About as far from splitting hairs as it gets. Burry worked within the confines of other people's rules and isolated the weakness in the system. Paulson created the rules so that he alone knew the weakness and hoped less sophisticated speculators would fall into his trap (that betting on America laziness is an almost guaranteed way to profit is a different story). Furthermore, looking at Paulson's recent track record, when unable to game the rules to his benefit, calling him a subpar investor may be generous.

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 11:00 | 1516675 Mercury
Mercury's picture

Fine. I certainly don't want to take anything away from Burry and I'm not totally unsympathetic to your view here, Goldman/Paulson played dirty pool to a certain extent but  both Burry and Paulson believed in a contrarian macro story that had to actually play out in reality in order for them to profit from the bets they placed. 

Now maybe Goldman/Paulson cut some corners with how thay represented their wares to their customers (let's please dispense with this "clients" fantasy) but of course the strategy was to leave the other party holding the bag.  Alpha is a zero-sum game.  When you buy puts on mortgage insurers (Burry) you are either hedging something (like with insurance) or you're hoping (essentially) that the counterparty ends up taking it in the ass.

There weren't a lot of pure play ways to short the bloated sub-prime mortgage market in 2008 and both Paulson and Burry had to get a little creative.  Mostly, Paulson just had greater resources.

If dumb-ass Euro pension managers just made it a point to stay away from structured products they don't understand and that someone else designed that would do wonders for their principal preservation compared to a new boatload of regulations.

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 11:03 | 1516724 WonderDawg
WonderDawg's picture

You still don't get it. Burry figured out the fraud and played it. Paulson had a hand in creating the fraud itself. One is opportunistic, the other is criminal.

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 10:13 | 1516567 JW n FL
JW n FL's picture

More for them and less for you.. and people will wonder how this could be? this is the status quo, the same status quo people choose to ignore.. at alll costs

 

so! stupid marches on! un-hindered!

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 10:14 | 1516571 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

So what is the answer here? You can't have somebody fresh out of college watching the industry. The firms will run circles around them. They have to understand the industry and new products. Do we give them a big reward for thieves caught? Maybe this will get them to do their jobs rather than  be an insider for the firms.

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 10:20 | 1516595 WonderDawg
WonderDawg's picture

The answer? Put a bounty on 'em. You want some real investigators to police the banksters? Give 'em a percentage (small percentage, of course, since we're talking billions) of whatever criminal activity they uncover and prosecute.

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 10:22 | 1516604 Boxed Merlot
Boxed Merlot's picture

Give 'em a percentage

 

or perhaps 30 pieces of silver.

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 11:40 | 1516847 TheLooza
TheLooza's picture

the investigators would end up broke and in jail (if not dead) long before the investigated would.

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 11:47 | 1516876 WonderDawg
WonderDawg's picture

Yeah, I know. However, I think we're on the cusp of a hard turn in the collective social mood, and what will be tolerated. We aren't there yet, but the tide is turning. People are slowly waking up, like a drunk coming off a four day bender, and not liking what they see. It might get ugly.

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 11:49 | 1516881 WonderDawg
WonderDawg's picture

OT, but today has a flash crashy kind of feel to it.

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 11:08 | 1516740 sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

Nothing but maximum security prison time will slow the corruption

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 10:17 | 1516582 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

This happens in almost every Monarchy.

Nothing strange about that.

It's how Tzars where able to run Russia back in the days becaue if there would be only 1 who controls it all officially, he would never have enough time to enjoy some golf, or a 5 week vacation....

 

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 10:29 | 1516596 Boxed Merlot
Boxed Merlot's picture

Mr. Glass took a big pay cut to become a civil servant...

 

2.3 to .233 frn.  There comes a time when decimals are mere decimals but where power and wealth come together.  Anyone that thinks a legislator (or "fox in the henhouse" appointee),would be hampered in their lifestyle by the absence of their .200 frn annual business / re-election account contribution made on behalf of the government is indeed braindead. imo.

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 10:21 | 1516598 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

Robo will be around later, after he finds some momo or other to crow about that rose a bit. Meanwhile he's angrily tearing up 'Warm regards' emails from Gentleman Jim Sinclair. 

Told ya not to dump that gold at $1,000 Robo! But you did get a lot of fun bashing it all the way up to $1,640 though, and thats what really matters.

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 10:28 | 1516628 digalert
digalert's picture

"revolving door conflicts of interest"

WTH?

Totally unrelated, I think Turbo Timmies days are numbered. What do you want to bet someone like...oh I don't know, Jamie Dimon moves from NYFED to treasury? hmmm

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 10:28 | 1516632 Iriestx
Iriestx's picture

Im not sure, is this supposed to be the HOPE or the CHANGE?

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 11:23 | 1516786 sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

It's Bush's fault. 

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 10:51 | 1516685 Seasmoke
Seasmoke's picture

better clawback all his ill gotten gains, before he loses every last penny (now that he no longer has inside info)

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 10:55 | 1516693 GoldBricker
GoldBricker's picture

Next we'll have college students grade their own term papers. I don't know about you, but I'm giving my paper a AAA rating.

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 10:56 | 1516697 UP4Liberty
UP4Liberty's picture

Nothing like having the fox watch the hens!

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 11:01 | 1516716 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

And mighty plump hens they are as well.

Now where is the goose and that damn Golden egg?

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 11:02 | 1516720 Iriestx
Iriestx's picture

I wonder if you can eat a golden egg.

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 11:19 | 1516775 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

You can. At least based upon Burl Ives 1964 Christmas "Silver and Gold" TV special featuring chipmunks that eat Gold nuggets.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oMlqn_Hjyi8

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 11:02 | 1516717 karzai_luver
karzai_luver's picture

You need us in the paper ponzi you want us in that paper ponzi you mock the ponzi

Well SONNY you are not fit to sleep under the paper we use to ponzi your ass into the gutter.

 

You talk of honor of profit , you use those as a punchline , we have profits and countries to defend under the sacred dollar ponzi.

 

I could go on. Could HanlyPanky star or would the runnign time bore...............

 

 

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 11:04 | 1516727 Iriestx
Iriestx's picture

Meth is a hell of a drug.

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 11:09 | 1516734 karzai_luver
karzai_luver's picture

prey tell................ I don't run around with a mask over MY face! I see lots of them in the collective these days.

 

ugohhhhhhh!


 


Tue, 08/02/2011 - 11:05 | 1516733 Rainman
Rainman's picture

This is how a kleptocracy rolls. The cops and robbers are not adversaries. They are a team.

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 11:10 | 1516747 John McCloy
John McCloy's picture

Exactly. It really is just that simple. No grey area it is that black and white and runs from Wall Street to the corridors of D.C.

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 11:15 | 1516762 karzai_luver
karzai_luver's picture

and right on down to the little RE/banker on the corner.

 

Don't fool yourself, this type of rot IS SYSTEMIC and the system doesn't disappear at the DC line.

 

Easy if that were the case.

 

 

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 11:36 | 1516834 sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

Yeah but the rot starts in DC and spreads throughout the country. The FBI, DOJ, SEC HUD, OCC, OTS, FDIC and a dozen other regulatory agencies and not one of them is honest and competent.

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 12:06 | 1516950 dcb
dcb's picture

you think this may have something to do withy why there are never any prosecutioons. they guy may be your future boss, or co worker, or is your coworker now.

sorkin not actually writing the wall street talking points handed to him by goldman et al. I myst be hallucinating.

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 12:44 | 1517113 ArkansasAngie
ArkansasAngie's picture

financial innovation has become a means by which to commit fraud.  A pass by a bought and paid for lawyer is as good as gold.

WTF

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