Saturday, April 26, 2014

Justice Dept. Sticks Up The Banks Because That's Where The Money Is

This 8 paragraph WSJ article (the product of at least three writers) describes the latest extortion by the Justice Department upon the unsavory banking industry for the inconveniences of the 2008 financial meltdown.

As it has done with other banks, the Justice Department is going to make an offer to Citigroup to terminate its investigation of the bank's dubious handling of mortgage-backed securities in exchange for a payment of billions. Earlier, using this same tactic, they got $13 billion out of J.P. Morgan Chase and are also in talks with Bank of America, a $20 billion settlement being presented.

This particular article doesn't explain the options available to both the Justice Dept. and the banks. Is there the possibility that senior executives of Citigroup could go to the big house if they don't cooperate? Are the current execs the ones that made the fateful decisions that robbed innocent homeowners and put children into shelters or are those guys now living on Ibiza? Are these operations limited liability corporations? Is it fair to penalize stockholders that aren't part of the decision-making process for management errors? What happens to the billions that the banks transfer to the DOJ? Does any of it go to bonuses for DOJ lawyers?

Call me skeptical but this looks more like a kind of tax on banks and an unregulated revenue stream for DOJ than any law enforcement effort.

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