Sign Outside The New York Stock Exchange; October, 2008
Dear American Banksters:
Do you think anyone has changed their feelings... ?
MEHR: In the New York Times, you might find this an article worth reading.
______________________________________________________________During the worst of the financial crisis, according to prosecutors, Serageldin had approved the concealment of hundreds of millions in losses in Credit Suisse’s mortgage-backed securities portfolio. But on that November morning, the judge seemed almost torn. Serageldin lied about the value of his bank’s securities — that was a crime, of course — but other bankers behaved far worse.Serageldin’s former employer, for one, had revised its past financial statements to account for $2.7 billion that should have been reported. Lehman Brothers, AIG, Citigroup, Countrywide and many others had also admitted that they were in much worse shape than they initially allowed. Merrill Lynch, in particular, announced a loss of nearly $8 billion three weeks after claiming it was $4.5 billion.Serageldin’s conduct was, in the judge’s words, “a small piece of an overall evil climate within the bank and with many other banks.” Nevertheless, after a brief pause, he eased down his gavel and sentenced Serageldin, an Egyptian-born trader who grew up in the barren pinelands of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, to 30 months in jail. Serageldin would begin serving his time at Moshannon Valley Correctional Center, in Philipsburg, where he would earn the distinction of being the only Wall Street executive sent to jail for his part in the financial crisis.
MEHR, MIT SCHWEIN: And then, there's this:
The U.S. economy and the stock market were booming on April 21, 1998, when the heaviest hitters of the Clinton administration met to discuss a controversial topic: whether the government should regulate a profitable but risky corner of the financial markets. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, the former Goldman Sachs... co-chairman, attended. So did his deputy, Larry Summers, and Alan Greenspan, chairman of the Federal Reserve. The meeting’s odd woman out was Brooksley Born, the little-known chairwoman of a little-known agency, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), who exhorted her colleagues to consider regulating privately traded derivatives such as swaps contracts.It’s no secret she lost. Her defeat that day left regulators not only powerless but clueless about the explosive growth in credit default swaps during the decade that followed, which allowed speculators to bet on an ever-rising housing market. The subsequent bust in 2008 caused the most devastating economic downturn since the Depression.Now nine pages of handwritten notes from that pivotal meeting have emerged, documenting for the first time what happened behind closed doors...