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SEC: Giving Up on Financial Crisis Prosecutions?

Commission passes on prosecuting major hedge fund

(Newser) - You might want to stop holding your breath waiting for the SEC to bring the hammer down on more financial crisis ne'er do wells, because the commission appears to be winding down crisis-related investigations. That's what the Wall Street Journal has concluded after getting word from sources that...

Banker Uses Where's Waldo Defense at Trial

Lawyer shows picture from book in court, and it works

(Newser) - Before the jury began its deliberations yesterday in the fraud trial of ex-Citigroup banker Brian Stoker, it heard a decidedly colorful argument from his lawyer. "Most of the trial had nothing to with Brian Stoker," John Keker said in his closing, saying it reminded him of the Where'...

Wachovia to Be Charged in Mortgage CDO Scandal

SEC says bank, now owned by Wells Fargo, overpriced CDOs

(Newser) - The SEC is getting ready to bring civil charges against Wachovia for allegedly jacking up prices on its CDOs, even as the loans underlying them fell in value, sources tell the Wall Street Journal . The charges come out of a larger SEC probe into Wall Street’s shady CDO practices,...

How Banks' Fake Daisy-Chains Led to Meltdown
 How Banks' Fake 
 Daisy-Chains Led 
 to Meltdown 


How Banks' Fake Daisy-Chains Led to Meltdown

Self-dealing artificially propped up market for CDOs

(Newser) - An extensive ProPublica investigation reveals what it calls “one of the greatest episodes of self-dealing in financial history.” Banks, most notably Merrill Lynch, set the stage for the economic meltdown by rewarding themselves for said “self-dealing” during the final two years of the housing bubble. They created...

Morgan Stanley Hit With Criminal Investigation

Prosecutors looking into mortgage deals

(Newser) - Looks like Goldman Sachs might have some company. Federal prosecutors have launched a criminal investigation into some of Morgan Stanley's mortgage derivative deals, the Wall Street Journal reports. Morgan Stanley created several mortgage-backed CDOs that it then bet against. Some it marketed itself, while others were sold by Citigroup and...

Feds Open Criminal Probe Into Goldman Trades

Prosecutors investigate possible securities fraud

(Newser) - Goldman's legal troubles are deepening. Federal prosecutors at the US Attorney's Office in Manhattan have opened a criminal probe into the Wall Street giant's mortgage trading, reports the Wall Street Journal . Prosecutors are looking for evidence of securities fraud but haven't decided whether to bring charges. The SEC, which has...

Translation: Goldman Sachs to English
 Goldman Sachs to English 

Translation: Goldman Sachs to English

Bankers' lingo reveals firm's real intentions, if you know how to read it

(Newser) - The Senate panel investigating Goldman Sachs will have an easier job if it embraces one profound truth, Jonathan Weil writes for Bloomberg : "What you must realize, foremost, is that Goldman's employees speak their own distinct language." Some translations:
  • Sophisticated, as in "among the most sophisticated mortgage investors

Lawsuit: Merrill Lynch Did Same Deal as Goldman

Dutch bank points out similarities to US judge

(Newser) - Pro Publica has reported that Goldman Sachs wasn't the only bank hawking built-to-fail mortgage investments, and now it has emails accusing Merrill Lynch of the practice. The Dutch bank Rabobank is suing Merrill, and as soon as it saw the charges against Goldman, it sent an email to the US...

It's Time to Stop the Looters on Wall Street
It's Time to Stop the Looters on Wall Street
Paul Krugman

It's Time to Stop the Looters on Wall Street

And financial reform is the only way to do that

(Newser) - The SEC's charges against Goldman Sachs reveal a whole new kind of fraud at work in the financial crisis, writes Paul Krugman of the New York Times . If Goldman had simply sold securities while betting they would fail, it would be “reprehensible” but not illegal. But selling securities deliberately...

Other Wall St. Banks as Guilty as Goldman

Many engaged in same activities SEC is now calling fraudulent

(Newser) - The SEC's fraud suit against Goldman Sachs might be just the tip of the iceberg, because other investment banks engaged in exactly the same sleight of hand, Pro Publica reports. Goldman is accused of failing to disclose that a hedge fund was both helping to create, and betting against, the...

Profits Were Fake, Bonuses All Too Real

How risky schemes left bankers flush, banks broke

(Newser) - Dow Kim was one of the leading bond traders at Merrill Lynch, and in 2006 he bundled together $500 million in loans into a huge CDO with the charming name Costa Bella. Since the subprime collapse, Costa Bella has cost Merrill millions—but Kim had already cashed out, awarded a...

Merrill Panic May Mark Bottom of Stock Market
Merrill Panic May Mark Bottom of Stock Market

Merrill Panic May Mark Bottom of Stock Market

Once regaled for cavalier confidence, CEO's chief cuts losses

(Newser) - Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain has seen better days, Floyd Norris writes in the New York Times. He's gone from “cockiness to capitulation. Distinction to desperation.” Thain recently unloaded a bundle of his company’s securities for 22 cents on the dollar and raised $8.5 billion from...

Lone Star Buys Big at Mortgage Fire Sale

Texas fund grabs $6.7B in Merrill castoffs, is hungry for more

(Newser) - Lone Star Fund is looking to profit from the castoffs of the credit meltdown, buying billions of marked-down assets and betting on just some of them to rebound, reports the Wall Street Journal. The Dallas-based private-equity firm run by John Grayken has closed a deal on $6.7 billion in...

Northern Rock: Post Mortem of a Spectacular Fall

Reckless play on global stage brought 'Northern Wreck' to its knees

(Newser) - The collapse of Northern Rock, Britains third-largest lender, was "the messiest banking crisis in the Western world resulting from the global credit crunch,'' a UK lawmaker tells Bloomberg in a post mortem of the disaster. “They really screwed it up,” said one analyst of the bank’...

SEC Opens Subprime Probe
SEC Opens Subprime Probe

SEC Opens Subprime Probe

Cox announces investigations into CDOs in wake of Bear Sterns tremors

(Newser) - The feds are investigating the controversial bundles of financial services that have recently shaken the market and sparked a spate of leveraged buyouts, the Journal reports. SEC chief Christopher Cox told a congressional panel yesterday that "about 12 investigations" were under way into CDOs, shared debt packages reliant on...

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