by ilene - May 11th, 2011 11:57 pm
Courtesy of Tyler Durden
By Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone Magazine
The People vs. Goldman Sachs
They weren’t murderers or anything; they had merely stolen more money than most people can rationally conceive of, from their own customers, in a few blinks of an eye. But then they went one step further. They came to Washington, took an oath before Congress, and lied about it.
Thanks to an extraordinary investigative effort by a Senate subcommittee that unilaterally decided to take up the burden the criminal justice system has repeatedly refused to shoulder, we now know exactly what Goldman Sachs executives like Lloyd Blankfein and Daniel Sparks lied about. We know exactly how they and other top Goldman executives, including David Viniar and Thomas Montag, defrauded their clients. America has been waiting for a case to bring against Wall Street. Here it is, and the evidence has been gift-wrapped and left at the doorstep of federal prosecutors, evidence that doesn’t leave much doubt: Goldman Sachs should stand trial.
The great and powerful Oz of Wall Street was not the only target of Wall Street and the Financial Crisis: Anatomy of a Financial Collapse, the 650-page report just released by the Senate Subcommittee on Investigations, chaired by Democrat Carl Levin of Michigan, alongside Republican Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. Their unusually scathing bipartisan report also includes case studies of Washington Mutual and Deutsche Bank, providing a panoramic portrait of a bubble era that produced the most destructive crime spree in our history — "a million fraud cases a year" is how one former regulator puts it. But the mountain of evidence collected against Goldman by Levin’s small, 15-desk office of investigators — details of gross, baldfaced fraud delivered up in such quantities as to almost serve as a kind of sarcastic challenge to the curiously impassive Justice Department — stands as the most important symbol of Wall Street’s aristocratic impunity and prosecutorial immunity produced since the crash of 2008.
To date, there has been only one successful prosecution of a financial big fish from the mortgage bubble, and that was Lee Farkas, a Florida lender who was just convicted on a smorgasbord of fraud charges and now faces life in prison. But Farkas, sadly, is just an exception proving the rule: Like Bernie Madoff, his comically excessive crime spree (which involved such lunacies as kiting checks to his own bank…
by ilene - March 1st, 2011 4:59 pm
The Goldman 10-K is out!
Here’s a look at how it did trading wise. It had 68 days of making more than $100 million from trading.
It only lost money on 25 days for the year.
by ilene - February 28th, 2011 4:02 pm
Bernie Madoff: The Market Is A Whole Rigged Job, And There’s No Chance That Investors Have In This Market
Courtesy of Timothy Naegele
Convicted swindler and consummate narcissist Bernard Madoff is serving a 150-year sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Butner, North Carolina for his $65 billion Ponzi scheme. He was interviewed by New York Magazine, and its terrific article states in pertinent part:
From the beginning, Madoff . . . had a chip on his shoulder, along with a certain contempt for the industry he’d chosen. “It was always a business where you had to have an edge, and the little guy never got a break. The institutions controlled everything,” he said in a voice surprisingly thick with emotion. “I realized from a very early stage that the market is a whole rigged job. There’s no chance that investors have in this market.”
. . .
At first, Madoff ground out a modest but steady income on the scraps of business tossed his way by Goldman Sachs and Bear Stearns, action that was too much trouble and too little profit for them. “I was perfectly happy to take the crumbs,” he said. Madoff was a market-maker, a middleman between those who wanted to buy and sell small quantities of mostly bonds—odd lots. “It was a riskless business,” he said. “You made the spread,” buying at one price and selling at a higher one, and in those days the spreads could be substantial, 50 or 75 cents or even a dollar a share. Madoff increased his profits by trading on the side.
. . .
Madoff wanted to grow his trading business, and a good way to do that was to expand his market-making business. But that meant going up against the New York Stock Exchange, the heart of the club. At the NYSE, a few firms controlled market-making, executing most large trades while getting rich on the spread. Madoff was one of the first to see that technology could match buyers and sellers more efficiently and cheaply than a human trader shouting orders amid a blizzard of paper on the floor of the exchange. By 1970, Madoff had hired his brother, Peter,
by ilene - February 24th, 2011 11:29 pm
Courtesy of The Daily Bail
Video – Max Keiser & Stacy Herbert
At issue is Tim Geithner’s criminal behavior in orchestrating the AIG bailout to favor Goldman Sachs through counterparty payouts at par, and then the massive cover-up.
- How Goldman Sachs Created ‘Shitty’ CDOs, Sold Them To AIG, Forced AIG Into Bankruptcy, Got A $20 Billion Bailout, Paid Themselves Billions In Bonuses, And Watched As Tim Geithner Covered It All Up
- Who Is Dan Jester And Why Did Tim Geithner Call Him 103 Times During The Financial Meltdown Of 2008?
- How Paulson Appointees & Former GS Employees Dan Jester & Ed Liddy Colluded To Destroy AIG And Secure A Secret Bailout For Goldman Sachs
“If These Allegations Are Correct, It Appears To Have Been A Direct Transfer Of Wealth From The United States Treasury To Goldman Sachs Shareholders”: Josh Rosner
by ilene - January 28th, 2011 12:41 am
Courtesy of The Daily Bail
Our favorite quotes so far from today’s FCIC report and reaction from analysts…
- "Less than a 3 percent drop in asset values could wipe out a firm." – FCIC Report
- "The AIG counterparty bailout, which was spun as necessary to protect the public, seems to have protected the institution at the expense of the public." – Josh Rosner
- "The total was for proprietary trades," the report asserts. "Unlike the $14 billion received from AIG on trades in which Goldman owed the money to its own counterparties, this $2.9 billion was retained by Goldman."
- "At the time, the idea was the sucker could go down because there wasn’t enough liquidity in the system, money wasn’t moving, and you could see a domino effect," said Ann Rutledge, a principal at R&R Consulting in New York, which specializes in structured finance. In reality, she contends, those fears were overblown: There was ample money in the financial system. Rather, individual institutions did not have enough cash on hand to survive their losses, she asserts. But the fear of a broader liquidity crisis was used as justification for what now appears to have been a backdoor means of bailing out Goldman, said Rutledge.
- The details in the commission’s report leave Goldman "naked," she added. "It doesn’t have the fig leaf of a systemic risk argument. Normally what happens when you have a sophisticated institution that’s doing stupid credit stuff is you let them eat it, but that didn’t happen in the bailout."
- "If these allegations are correct, it appears to have been a direct transfer of wealth from the Treasury to Goldman’s shareholders." – Josh Rosner
by ilene - January 15th, 2011 4:40 pm
Courtesy of Washington’s Blog
The following is an excerpt of my much longer roundup of the many covert ways the government is bailing out the giant banks.
Fraud As a Business Model
If you stop and think for a moment, it is obvious that failing to prosecute fraud is a bailout.
Nobel prize-winning economist George Akerlof demonstrated that if big companies aren’t held responsible for their actions, the government ends up bailing them out. So failure to prosecute directly leads to a bailout.
Moreover, as I noted last month:
Fraud benefits the wealthy more than the poor, because the big banks and big companies have the inside knowledge and the resources to leverage fraud into profits. Joseph Stiglitz noted in September that giants like Goldman are using their size to manipulate the market. The giants (especially Goldman Sachs) have also used high-frequency program trading (representing up to 70% of all stock trades) and high proportions of other trades as well). This not only distorts the markets, but which also lets the program trading giants take a sneak peak at what the real traders are buying and selling, and then trade on the insider information. See this,this, this, this and this.
Similarly, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, and Morgan Stanley together hold 80% of the country’s derivatives risk, and 96% of the exposure to credit derivatives. They use their dominance to manipulate the market.
Fraud disproportionally benefits the big players (and helps them to become big in the first place), increasing inequality and warping the market.
[And] Professor Black says that fraud is a large part of the mechanism through which bubbles are blown.
Finally, failure to prosecute
“The Fed No Longer Even Denies that the Purpose of Its Latest Blast of Bond Purchases … Is To Drive Up Wall Street”
by ilene - January 15th, 2011 4:36 pm
Courtesy of Washington’s Blog
The stated purpose of quantitative easing was to drive down interest rates on U.S. treasury bonds.
But as U.S. News and World Reported noted last month:
By now, you’ve probably heard that the Fed is purchasing $600 billion in treasuries in hopes that it will push interest rates even lower, spur lending, and help jump-start the economy. Two years ago, the Fed set the federal funds rate (the interest rate at which banks lend to each other) to virtually zero, and this second round of quantitative easing--commonly referred to as QE2--is one of the few tools it has left to help boost economic growth. In spite of all this, a funny thing has happened. Treasury yields have actually risen since the Fed’s announcement.
The following charts from Doug Short update this trend:
Of course, rather than admit that the Fed is failing at driving down rates, rising rates are now being heralded as a sign of success. As the New York Times reported Monday:
The trouble is [rates] they have risen since it was formally announced in November, leaving many in the markets puzzled about the value of the Fed’s bond-buying program.
But the biggest reason for the rise in interest rates was probably that the economy was, at last, growing faster. And that’s good news.
“Rates have risen for the reasons we were hoping for: investors are more optimistic about the recovery,” said Mr. Sack. “It is a good sign.”
Last November, after it started to become apparent that rates were moving in the wrong direction, Bernanke pulled a bait-and-switch, defending quantitative easing on other grounds:
by ilene - December 31st, 2010 5:20 am
Shadow Banking and Tax Avoidance – privileges for the ultra-wealthy… Ilene
Courtesy of Michael Snyder of Economic Collapse
You and I live in a totally different world than the ultra-rich and the international banking elite do. Many of them live in a world where they simply do not pay income taxes. Today, it is estimated that a third of all the wealth in the world is held in offshore banks. So why is so much of the wealth of the globe located in places such as Monaco, the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, the Bahamas, and the Isle of Man? It isn’t because those are fun places to visit. It is to avoid taxes. The super wealthy and the international banking elite think that it is really funny that our paychecks are constantly being drained by federal taxes, state taxes and Social Security taxes while they literally pay nothing at all. These incredibly rich elitists make a ton of money doing business in wealthy western nations and then they transfer virtually all of their profits offshore where they don’t have to contribute any of it in taxes. It works out really great for them, but it sucks for the rest of us.
It is estimated that approximately $1.4 trillion is held in offshore banks in the Cayman Islands alone. According to an article in Forbes magazine, there is a total of approximately 15 trillion to 20 trillion dollars in offshore bank accounts, brokerage accounts and hedge fund portfolios.
A recent article in the Guardian stated that a third of all the wealth on the entire globe is held in offshore banks and that the vast majority of international banking transactions take place in these tax havens….
On a conservative estimate, a third of the world’s wealth is held offshore, with 80% of international banking transactions taking place there. More than half the capital in the world’s stock exchanges is "parked" offshore at some point.
All of the biggest banks in the world are involved in playing this game. All of them have big branches in these various tax havens. All of them work very hard to ensure that the tax burdens on their ultra-rich clients are as light as possible.
by ilene - December 23rd, 2010 6:05 pm
A year after Charles Biderman’s provocative post first appeared on Zero Hedge, in which he asked just who is doing all the buying of stocks as the money was obviously not coming from retail investors (and came up with one very notable suggestion), today Maria Bartiromo invited the TrimTabs head once again (conveniently in CNBC’s lowest rated show, during Christmas Eve eve, at a time when perhaps 5 people would be watching) in an interview which disclosed that after more than a year of searching, Biderman still has no idea who actually buying. In response to Bartiromo’s question if the retail investor, who left after the flash crash (thank you SEC), Biderman responds what every Zero Hedger has known for 33 weeks: "Retail investors are not coming back to the US. Those investors that are investing are buying global equities and are buying commodities. We are seeing lots money going into commodity ETF funds: gold, silver…" and the even more unpleasant summation: "individuals have been selling, companies are net selling, insider selling and new offerings are swamping any buyback and any cash M&A activity since QE 2 was announced. Pension funds and hedge funds don’t really have that much cash to invest. So what nobody’s asking is what happens when QE 2 stops: if the only buyer is the Fed, and the Fed stops buying, I don’t know what is going to happen...When I was on your show a year ago I was saying the same thing: we can’t figure out who is doing the buying it has to be the government, and people said I was nuts. Now the government is admitting it is rigging the market." Cue Bartiromo jaw dropping.
As for the simple math of where the money is actually going:
"Money flows come out of income, take home pay of everybody plus money that came from real estate is down about $1 trillion a year. It peaked in the 3rd quarter of 2008, at $7 trillion, that’s take home pay for everybody who pays taxes plus the money that came from real estate. It has now bottomed at $5.9 trillion. We are still down $1.1 trillion in money that people have to spend each year, that 16%. And some of the money that is leaving equity markets we think is going to pay bills."
Goldman’s $430 Target, Screaming Buy On Apple At Its All Time High Is In Direct Contravention To Reggie Middleton’s Logic – Who’s Right? Well, Who Has Been More Right In The Past?
by ilene - December 14th, 2010 1:14 pm
Goldman has recently issued a strong buy recommendation on Apple, offering a $430 price target. I have been on record many times stating that Apples will be facing the toughest competition of its existence since Microsoft nearly put them out of business. This, of course, appears to be in direct contravention to the Goldman Sachs call which just happened to come out the day Apple hits its all time high. Being that Apple has more than its fair share of fans who ignore common sense, this is enough to set the stock on fire. The question still remains though, “Is Goldman right?” Goldman very well could be right, but not for the reasons most retail investors believe. Despite overwhelming evidence plus plain old history to the contrary, many investors and mainstream media outlets still take the sell side of Wall Street at their word. Sell side analysts are marketing arms for the brokerage sales force, the investment banking sales force and the traders who move inventory in and out of their respective banks. What they are not are wealth and strategy advisers for retail and institutional investors. Their historical performance clearly illustrates this, thus their is not need to take this entrepreneurial investor and blogger’s word for it. Well, for those of you who either don’t know of me or don’t know of Goldman, here’s a quick recap of Reggie Middleton vs. Goldman Sachs:
Who was more accurate concerning Google? Google’s 3rd Quarter Operating Results: The Foregone Conclusion That Was Amazingly Unanticipated by the Street!!! Monday, November 8th, 2010
Who was more accurate concerning Lehman Brothers, the Ivy league, ivory tower boys doing God’s work or that blogger with the smart ass mouth from Brooklyn?
Please click the graph to enlarge to print quality size.
As a matter of fact, who was more accurate during the ENTIRE Asset Securitization and Credit Crisis of the last three years? We believe Reggie Middleton and his team at the BoomBust bests ALL of Wall Street’s sell side research:…