July 19th, 2014
in Op Ed
by Larry Doyle, Sense on Cents
Running down the clock used to be a strategy employed by renowned North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith to win many a game. College basketball ultimately employed a shot clock to keep the games going.
Perhaps the Department of Justice should also have some sort of effective 'shot clock' imposed upon it in certain circumstances. Why so?
Just look at the announcement today (July 14, 2014) that Citigroup is paying a $7 billion fine to settle an array of egregious practices involved in transactions the firm brought from 2003 to 2008. The WSJ offers that AG Eric Holder will provide the following details:
. . . that the bank engaged in "egregious" misconduct by covering up problems with loans it was packaging into securities and selling to investors.
"Despite the fact that Citigroup learned of serious and widespread defects among the increasingly risky loans they were securitizing, the bank and its employees concealed these defects," Mr. Holder plans to say, according to a prepared copy of his remarks.
Mr. Holder plans to say that the bank's misdeeds-which it admitted to "in great detail" as part of the settlement-allowed it to dupe investors and win market share. That, he said, hurt endowment and pension funds, municipalities and charities.
Let's pause for a second and think this through. Oh how I wish I were at the press conference later today to hit Holder with the following points and questions:
- In terms of the $2.5 billion in consumer relief within this settlement, how much of that is being truly paid by Citigroup and how much by mortgage investors who hold the securities that were originated and issued by Citigroup?
- Given that this settlement covers transactions going back to 2003, what does that say about the regulators from the SEC and FINRA charged with monitoring Citi during that time period if not since then as well? I'll tell you exactly what it says. The regulators run the gamut from being inept, incompetent, captured, corrupted, and exposed as being In Bed with Wall Street.
- Citigroup whistleblower Richard Bowen highlighted in early 2010 - yes, 2010 - over 4 plus years ago, that an overwhelming percentage of loans that had been originated and purchased by Citi for securitizations were 'impaired.' Bowen brought that info to the highest levels of the bank including none other than Robert Rubin. What happened to Bowen? His testimony to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission was muzzled and he was ultimately dismissed from the bank. Where is his justice?
What happened to Rubin? He took his $100+ million dollars paid out to him by Citigroup and went on with his life. Where's his justice?
So today we will witness AG Holder and team take a victory lap and 'hold out' the stick that "the civil settlement doesn't rule out future criminal charges against Citigroup or its employees."
Really? Stop it Eric. You're embarrassing yourself.
America wants to know why after 4 years from Bowen's testimony and 6 years since Holder took office has NO SENIOR MANAGER - and yes, I mean NOBODY as in NO SINGLE INDIVIDUAL - been held to proper account for the institutional frauds perpetrated on Wall Street.
America knows that truth and justice delayed - as in this settlement with Citigroup coming on July 14, 2014 - is ultimately truth and justice denied.