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JPMorgan and Goldman, Under Criminal Probes, Close in the Red Despite Trading their Own Bank Stocks in their Own Dark Pools

Courtesy of Pam Martens

Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase LogosAll three major stock indices set new highs yesterday. The Nasdaq led with a 0.67 percent gain; the Dow Jones Industrial Averaged closed with a 0.49 percent increase while the S&P 500 inched up 0.45 percent. Stocks have been setting new highs all week as the New York Fed funnels tens of billions of dollars each day to Wall Street’s trading houses to quench a “liquidity” crisis whose existence has seemed to escape stock trading desks on Wall Street.

The stock markets’ week of new highs comes at a curious time. For only the third time in history, a sitting U.S. President was impeached this past week by the U.S. House of Representatives and the Democratic candidates for President wasted no time in last night’s debate drilling down to why this happened. The words “corrupt” and “corruption” were used repeatedly by candidates to describe the state of affairs in Washington. But not one candidate mentioned Wall Street – the epicenter and financier and primary beneficiary of that corruption.

Just how deep that nexus between corruption on Wall Street and corruption in Washington runs was on display yesterday as the Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. Department of Justice is prepared to settle its criminal investigation of Goldman Sachs in exchange for a fine of approximately $2 billion from one of its subsidiaries. The criminal investigation stems from the Wall Street behemoth twiddling its thumbs as $4.5 billion it had raised in bond sales was looted from its client, Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund known as 1MDB. The looted funds were alleged to have been used to bribe foreign officials to obtain bond business for Goldman Sachs, pay kickbacks to employees of Goldman Sachs involved in the scheme, as well as to buy yachts, artwork and fund the production of Hollywood movies, including “The Wolf of Wall Street by outsiders involved in the scheme.

Tom Leissner, a former partner at Goldman Sachs who had worked for the firm for more than two decades, pleaded guilty in the U.S. in 2018 to charges of bribery, conspiracy and money laundering for his role in the 1MDB scandal. Another Goldman employee who was charged, Roger Ng, has pleaded not guilty and his case is currently pending in federal court in New York.

The attorney general of Malaysia has filed a criminal indictment against Goldman Sachs in the matter.

The stock market showed how it has become desensitized to criminal activities on Wall Street: it shaved just 0.22 percent off Goldman’s share price – but did force it to close in the red while the market was setting new highs.

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