In response to an FT article by Barney Jopson and Alistair Gray on 13th April 2016, entitled 'US rejects living will of five banks'
The US Department of Justice has just issued the latest in a long line of ‘fines’ to the banks listed here. In this case, Goldman Sachs. The reason? Between 2005 and 2007, Goldman marketed and sold mortgage-backed securities to investors that were of lower quality than promised. As a result, Goldman will pay a $2.385 billion civil penalty to the Justice Department, $875 million resolving claims from other state and federal agencies, and $1.8 billion in “consumer relief”. This comes to a $5.1 billion, approximately half of which can be written off against tax, which in turn means that about $900 million will be met by the tax-payer.
If we strip all the legal niceties away from this, what we’re left with is an organisation whose staff are guilty of criminal activities, who are paying a fee to the government in exchange for immunity from prosecution. This amounts to a high class, white-collar protection racket.
The ‘fine’ will be paid for by the shareholders, and no-one will go to jail. What does this really amount to? Goldman Sachs and the US Department of Justice are sharing the spoils from a fraud perpetuated on the American people.
Living wills? Utter garbage. They are too big to fail, too big to jail, and rotten to the core. Market forces tried to break them up 8 years ago. They were saved by an ex-Goldman US Treasury Secretary, Hank Paulson, going down on his hands and knees to a Congress, most of whom had been put in their seats with Wall Street money. The ‘problems’ that surfaced in 2008 were delayed, not resolved. When the next shoe drops, which it will, it will finish the job.
The only surprising thing about this, though not really, is that the majority of the media, particularly the financial press, are still scratching their heads and wondering why people are so disgusted with ‘elites’? It’s simple really - this stuff makes Capone look like an amateur.