A good moment in the film The Big Short comes at the end. Who goes to jail for all the fraud that was so cruel to so many people in the GFC? Sweet F A. The audience is terse and not amused. Grievances are building.
The other day Goldman Sachs handed over a bribe – that is what it was – to settle a lot of claims. About five billion dollars. Eight years on, no one has been named, much less charged, much less jailed. Just some computer entries – everything nice and quiet, an agreement between lawyers and other suits; people who can be relied on.
Goldman also acknowledged a Justice Department statement of facts describing how the firm misled investors.
For example, Goldman’s due diligence for one issue of 2006 mortgage-backed securities showed that some of the loan pools reflected an ‘unusually high’ percentage of loans with credit and compliance programs, the Department said.
‘How do we know that we caught everything?’ asked a Goldman committee tasked with reviewing and approving mortgage-backed securities, according to the Justice Department. ‘We don’t,’ a Goldman manager said.
‘Depends on what you mean by everything? Because of the limited sampling… we don’t catch everything,’ another Goldman manager said.
Still, the committee approved the securities without requiring additional due diligence, said the Justice Department, which did not identify those involved.
How did the not guilty party, Goldman Sachs, show its contrition for its ruinous lies?
‘We are pleased to put these legacy matters behind us,’ a Goldman spokesman said in a statement. ‘Since the financial crisis, we have taken significant steps to strengthen our culture, reinforce our commitment to our clients, and ensure our governance processes are robust,’ he said.
These people are so bent that they would probably charge a fee for bullshit as gross as that.
Here again there is one law for the rich and one for you and me. That is why the Panama Papers are so inflammatory and that it is why the knives will be out for Palmer. He has looked after his family and mates, and welched on his workers.
The Australian showed his wife in a Hermès shirt and said that we told you so; the ABC and Fairfax were conned; and it is all the fault of the cops. You can take that or leave it – either way, our press is complicit in the collapse of confidence in business and government.
Poet of the month: W H Auden
Epitaph on a tyrant
Perfection, of a kind, was what he was after,
And the poetry he invented was easy to understand;
He knew human folly like the back of his hand,
And was greatly interested in armies and fleets;
When he laughed, respectable senators burst with laughter,
And when he cried the little children died in the streets.