Monday, March 29, 2010

Containing the banksters

Cracking down on criminals is always harder than it looks.  Especially when the criminals own the government, the schools, and the media.  Even so, this is worth reading.
Bank Of America Says Its Lehman-Style Bogus Balance Sheet Manipulation Is A-Okay*
Henry Blodget | Mar. 23, 2010 
Turns out, Bank of America (BAC) did it, too. 
Hempton compared Bank of America's "average quarterly assets" and "end of quarter assets" and found that, in each quarter, billions of dollars of assets conveniently disappeared briefly at the end of the quarter, only to return again at the start of the next one. 
Thus, Bank of America interrupted its wild gambling for a few days at the end of the quarter, presented a sober snapshot to its investors, and then went right back to gambling again. Was this illegal?

The Repo men must be stopped 
Banking culture is certain to take the world back into crisis again – unless we take co-ordinated international action
John Lanchester, Friday 19 March 2010
Here's a name we haven't been hearing much about in the aftermath of the credit crunch: Sarbanes-Oxley. That was the US Congress's response to the collapse of Enron, a piece of legislation that was intended to be the biggest crackdown ever on dodgy corporate accounting. The law was enacted in 2002, was loudly complained about by Wall Street and, as we can clearly see from the crash, did nothing of value except making institutions pay formal obeisance to rules they thought a waste of time. When it came to protecting the public, the world's biggest crackdown on lax accounting had exactly zero effect.
The scandals keep coming. It is more than 18 months since Lehman Brothers, the US investment bank, imploded, almost taking down the global financial system with it. You might think there wouldn't be much more bad news that could come out of the bank. more

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