Tuesday, November 29, 2011


A DAY LATE AND $700 MILLION SHORT: We're a little busy today so our assigned reading is Matt Taibbi's take on Federal Judge Jed Rakoff's refusal to let the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) get way with yet another "settlement," this time with Citigroup, for a ridiculously low sum ($95 million) considering the crime but, more importantly, without admitting any guilt.

Taibbi detailed the case a few weeks ago describing one more banking institution that bundled toxic mortgages into high grade securities and then bet against them making $160 million on the wager while investors- mostly institutional ones like pension funds and municipalities- lost $700 million.

Judge Rakoff essentially said "how the heck can I sign off on a deal without knowing what happened?"

Taibbi analogizes the deal by asking

What sane judge would sign off on a deal like that without knowing exactly what the facts are? Did the criminal shoot up a nightclub and paralyze someone, or did he just sell a dimebag on the street? Is 18 months a tough sentence or a slap on the wrist? And how is it legally possible for someone to deserve an 18-month sentence without being guilty of anything?

This actually could set a precedent in saying "no more" to these "no admission of guilt" settlements but don't hold your breath.

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