You have to love it. If the allegations prove true, it provides further evidence that the banksters cannot contain themselves. Here they get their bacon saved by the TARP (which was way too cheaply priced relative to the risk involved) and a host of hidden subsidies and supports. Yet the employees cannot stand to let an opportunity for personal enrichment go to waste, legal or not.
The Financial Times appears to have broken the story that the Office of the Special Inspector General is investigating reports of insider trading in connection with the TARP. And what makes this probe potentially serious (aside from the brazenness of it) is that the suspects include executives as well as foot soldiers:
Eight of the largest banks in the US received between $2bn and $25bn in October 2008 under a programme to prop up the financial system led by Hank Paulson, then Treasury secretary.
Dozens more institutions followed and Mr Barofsky, who examines the troubled asset relief programme, is looking into whether information improperly made its way to trading rooms during a feverish period in which the government and banks were frequently exchanging information.
“We have pending investigations looking into that – typically into insider trading,” he said. “Once upon a time getting Tarp funds actually meant your stock price would go up and we are looking at specific trading around Tarp announcements by insiders or looking at potential tips from insiders.”
Yves here. With the notable exception of the network surrounding Raj Rajaratnam, nearly all insider trading scandals have involved junior employees as the ones leaking confidential information, usually on corporate mergers. While most M&A deals involve lots of junior level support, knowledge of pending TARP financings at a particular firm would presumably be limited to comparatively few people, and then largely the very top officers… continue here.>>
Be sure to watch this one also, via Mish
Neil Barofsky Says Handcuffs Are Coming