Petition: make the FBI explain why they didn't bring criminal charges against bank execs


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/10/02/petition-make-the-fbi-explain.html


#2

I’m not intimately familiar with US law, but I’d like to know which laws the bank execs have clearly broken. Being an opportunistic businessman who exploits loopholes in the system makes you unethical, not necessarily a law breaker.

The appeal of show trials, where we prosecute someone not on the basis of law, but on the basis of societal need (need, as defined by whoever has the reigns of government at this particular moment) has a certain appeal. Villains will be punished.

But history has not been kind to regimes that engage in such behaviour, or societies that support it.

(Now if the FBI is shown to have good cases in existing law against the bank executives, then indeed, justice should be done. My guess, however, is that the law hasn’t caught up to the acrobatic maneuvers of financial “innovation” and we’d fishing for a jury willing to convict despite the wording and intent of the law.)

[Edit: (1) I missed the whole point of the original article. (2) Dear God, it’s reins, not reigns. I’ve used up my idiocy quotient for the day. No more posting.]


#3

From The Intercept:

The FCIC’s criminal referrals, which were sent to the Justice Department in October 2010, have never been made public. But Warren’s staff reviewed thousands of other documents released in March by the National Archives, including hearings and testimony, witness interviews, internal deliberations, and memoranda, and found descriptions and records of them.

They detail potential violations of securities laws by 14 different financial institutions: most of America’s largest banks — Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Lehman Brothers, Washington Mutual (now part of JPMorgan), and Merrill Lynch (now part of Bank of America) — along with foreign banking giants UBS, Credit Suisse, and Société Generale, auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers, credit rating agency Moody’s, insurance company AIG, and mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The FCIC presented the DOJ with evidence that these institutions gave false representations about the loan quality inside mortgage-backed securities; misled credit ratings agencies; overstated assets and earnings in financial disclosures; failed to disclose credit downgrades, subprime exposure, and the financial health of their operations to shareholders; and suffered breakdowns in internal company controls. All of these were tied to specific violations of federal law.

So this isn’t loopholes. The FCIC is presenting evidence of specific crimes to the FBI.

ETA: Or you could have read the same info in the linked petition.


#4

My carelessness. Many thanks.

Edit: sigh in re-reading the article, I found I’d misread it pretty much entirely.

It was not calling for prosecution (I think the FBI should make the decision, not the people), but for revealing why the FBI chose not to.

While I find the idea of the FBI revealing details when they choose not to prosecute distasteful (it seems a way of trying to ruin someone who they feel they cannot convict), if this is indeed standard practice, I cannot see any reason why these investigations should be any different.

A clear case of reading the emotion surrounding something rather than the facts themselves. My apologies.


#5

I would like to point out the coincidence that weasels, also, did not bring charges against banks.


#6

I love the photo of Warren shouting, “Death to capitalism! Die, running dog lackeys!”


#7

If a petition is supposed to be so powerful as to compel the FBI to explain why they didn’t bring criminal charges, why not just start a petition to compel the FBI to bring criminal charges and be done with it?


#8

I think the idea is that we dont know what we dont know.

We know that the bank engaged in fraud. We know that individuals were fired for not meeting sales targets. So corporate officers created incentives to commit fraud without creating any controls to prevent fraud. That looks a bit like a control fraud. They didn’t just understand that there was a possibility of bad actors making criminal choices, but rather they were banking on it (pun wasnt originally intended).

If we ask why the FBI didnt recommend charges we might find that a) the FBI did but someone in the justice department blocked it b) that the FBI didnt understand that there was a personal criminal act here c) that the FBI investigation was curtailed either by design or by accident.

In all cases we learn something useful which might help us reassert the rule of law on the financial sector. Cos some of us think that financial regulation has suffered regulatory capture and is no longer fit for purpose.


#9

Same reason he didn’t bring charges against Hillary. And why Hillary gets big money from the Banks…see the connection?


#10

Why? My guess someone in charge told them not to. Or did they assume it wasn’t their job and someone like the SEC should have acted on it?


#11

Part of the point of this petition is that revealing this sort of information was very much not standard practice…until the FBI director decided to do exactly that in regard to the Clinton email scandal.

Warren is grandstanding (in a virtuous cause) on the basis of “well, if you’re going to hold a press conference to tell us why you didn’t prosecute Clinton, why not do the same to explain why you didn’t prosecute the banksters?”.


#12

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