Charges of fraud brought against banking titan Goldman Sachs by the Securities and Exchange Commission rocked financial markets Friday, but experts say the allegations are merely the first of many to come, Reuters reported.
After the SEC went public with the allegations, the Dow Jones dropped 125 points and Goldman Sachs stocks dropped 13 percent — the largest one-day drop in company history.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” said James Hackney, a professor at Northeastern University School of Law. “There are a lot of folks out there in different deals who played similar roles, and once it starts building steam, plaintiffs’ lawyers will figure out this is where the money is and there should be a lot of action.”
Reuters Global editor at large Chrystia Freeland said the significance of the charges is “huge.”
Goldman Sachs’ members like to think of themselves as “the smartest, the richest,” but Freeland said they also like to think of themselves as the “most virtuous.”
“Someone once said, ‘I don’t want to be just another rich guy in New York,'” she recalled. “They want o be part of civil service, part of government, doing good, giving back.”
The charges against Goldman relate to a complex investment tied to the performance of pools of risky mortgages. In a complaint filed Friday, the Securities and Exchange Commission alleged that Goldman marketed the package to investors without disclosing a major conflict of interest: The pools were picked by another client, a prominent hedge fund that was betting the housing bubble would burst.
Goldman said the charges are “unfounded in law and fact,” the Associated Press reported. In a written response to the charges, the bank said it had provided “extensive disclosure” to investors and that the largest investor had selected the portfolio – not the hedge fund client. Goldman said it lost $90 million on the deal, but the fact that Goldman lost money has no impact on the fraud charges.
Goldman Sachs was not the only bank to pursue the practices that brought on the SEC charges. It wasn’t uncommon in 2006 and 2007. At the tail end of the real estate bubble, smart investors searched for bigger and better ways to profit from the approaching disaster of using derivatives.
The SEC’s charges against Goldman Sachs are already stirring up investors who lost big, according to plaintiffs lawyer Jake Zamansky.
“I’ve been contacted by Goldman customers to bring lawsuits to recover their losses,” Zamansky said.
For President Obama’s push to reform Wall Street financial practices, the allegations couldn’t have come at a better time. As the Los Angeles Times put it:
The accusations against the iconic Wall Street institution offer a chance to revitalize a simple political narrative that he has all but lost in recent months: that he and his party are protecting ordinary Americans victimized by the economic meltdown.
All 41 Senate Republicans declared their unanimous opposition to financial reform in a Friday letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid.
But Reuters editor Freeland said Republicans are going to have a much tougher time convincing Americans that immediate financial reform isn’t necessary after the SEC’s charges.
“I think now that there has been a lot of momentum behind the financial reform bill, and I think that that momentum is only going to increase,” Freeland said. “The charges on Friday will give the Democrats who wanted a tougher bill a lot more energy.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
April 12, 2010
Damian Thompson, writing for the Daily Telegraph, says there will be plenty of conspiracy theories floating around cyberspace in response to the death of Polish president Lech Kaczynski and a large number of Polish VIPs in a plane crash last week.
|Donald Tusk is pro-euro and an advocate of neoliberal economic policies.
“One of the nastier consequences of international disasters is that conspiracy theorists rush to judgment – and I do mean rush,” writes Thompson. “The fact that the president and so many of the Polish elite were on a visit to Russia will feature prominently in the fantastic stories being cooked up in cyberspace right now. And I can say with confidence that they are being cooked up, because Poland, like most East European countries, is obsessed with conspiracies. Russians, Jews, Americans, Freemasons – they will all be blamed. Some stories will be more credible than others.’
He missed one: the international bankster cartel.
Not only did Poland decline to be a victim of the bankster loan sharking operation, Poland’s central bank had the audacity to offer the IMF a loan to “help other countries overcome the effects of the global crisis,” the AFP reported on March 29, 2010.
Poland was the only member of the 27-nation European Union to have experienced growth in 2009 and the IMF forecast that its economy would expand by 2.75 percent this year and by 3.25 percent in 2011.
Poland’s zloty grew by 1.7 percent in 2009, a remarkable feat given that European Union countries contracted by an average of 4.1 percent and no other EU economy grew at all. “Poland avoided eastern Europe’s worst lending binges. Kaczynski frustrated some of his opponents by being in no rush to head towards the euro party,” the Daily Telegraph reports today.
Earlier this month, Czech Central Bank Vice Deputy Mojmir Hampl said the IMF fueled Eastern Europe’s crisis to create a situation that would compel regional states to request the help from the globalist loan sharking operation.
“He said that the institution, which offered emergency funds for Hungary, Lithuania, Ukraine and Romania, misinterpreted some data because they are looking for new clients as the leadership changed,” HotNews reported.
Indeed, the leadership has now changed in Poland and it looks like a pro-euro political leader may replace Kaczynski. “Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s pro-euro Civic Platform party is likely to cement its grip on power in a presidential election that must now be held by June after President Lech Kaczynski died in a plane crash,” reports Bloomberg today.
Kaczynski resisted Tusk’s effort to resist adopting the euro. “Kaczynski, who over the past three years had tried to block government efforts to overhaul Poland’s debt-ridden healthcare and pension systems, was also the last EU leader besides Vaclav Klaus of the Czech Republic to sign the Lisbon Treaty, and opposed Tusk’s euro adoption goal.”
In addition, Kaczynski placed a euro-skeptic ally in charge of the central bank, Slawomir Skrzypek, who was also killed in the crash.
It looks like Poland may soon join the EU Borg hive with open arms.
Government Against The People
April 10 ,2010
There’s no telling if the two events are connected, but their timing is mighty interesting.
The Polish government and the National Bank of Poland, in a “rare moment of unity,” agree to weaken Poland’s currency, the zloty, in an act that would benefit Poland’s exporters at the expense of Poland’s trading partners—that is, the European Union, among others. Then, the next day, Poland’s president and the president of its national bank die in a plane crash.
Polish President Lech Kaczynski speaks to the press prior to boarding his plane at the military airport in Warsaw, Poland.
From the Wall Street Journal in an item dated April 9, 2010:
In one of those rare moments of unity, the National Bank of Poland and the Polish government agreed on the need to weaken the Polish zloty, which over recent weeks has rebounded close to its pre-crisis strength. The currency’s strength is now seen a possible threat to economic recovery. After several verbal interventions over the past few days, the central bank intervened with real money Friday, for the first time in more than a decade.
The bank followed through on its Thursday warnings that it is “technologically and psychologically” prepared to enter the currency market to prevent “excessive strengthening of the zloty.” Government officials also said earlier this week that the “strong zloty” is damaging growth and, after Friday’s intervention, said they fully back the central bank’s move.
In moving to weaken the zloty, Poland’s leadership was placing the interests of the people of Poland ahead of the interests of the European collective known as the European Union.
Then, the next day, the president of Poland dies in a plane crash along with numerous other top leaders, including the president of the National Bank. From the Mail Online:
Polish president Lech Kaczynski and his wife Maria have been killed after their plane crashed on approach to Smolensk airport in western Russia.
Russian news agencies reported at least 87 people died in the crash near Smolensk airport in western Russia, citing the Russian Emergencies Ministry. They reported 132 people were aboard the Tupolev Tu-154.
The Army chief of staff, Gen. Franciszek Gagor, National Bank President Slawomir Skrzypek and Deputy Foreign Minister Andrzej Kremer were on the passenger list.
Poland has been dragging its feet in adopting the euro and joining the European Union, having pushed back its target date for doing so until 2015. Here in the U.S., we might say that Poland is not a “team player.” In the New World Order, bad things tend to happen to leaders who aren’t team players.
By LAURAN NEERGAARD
WASHINGTON — U.S. health officials urged pediatricians Monday to temporarily stop using one of two vaccines against a leading cause of diarrhea in babies, after discovering that doses of GlaxoSmithKline’s Rotarix were contaminated with bits of an apparently benign pig virus.
Glaxo’s vaccine has been used in millions of children worldwide, including 1 million in the U.S., with no signs of safety problems — and the pig virus isn’t known to cause any kind of illness in people or animals, said physician Margaret Hamburg, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.
But vaccines are supposed to be sterile, and because there is a competing vaccine against diarrhea-causing rotavirus that has tested clean — Merck’s RotaTeq — the FDA decided to err on the side of caution.
“We don’t want to scare parents,” Hamburg said. “This was a difficult decision for us to make because there is no evidence at this time that there is a risk to patients who have received this vaccine, and we know there are real benefits for children to be vaccinated against rotavirus.”
Rotavirus causes severe diarrhea and is a leading child killer in developing countries. In the U.S., with better health care, about 55,000 children a year were hospitalized for rotavirus infections and several dozen died each year before vaccination began — with Merck’s vaccine in 2006 and Glaxo’s in 2008.
Glaxo said Monday that regulators abroad have decided not to change how Rotarix is used while scientists probe the relevance of the discovery.
A group of scientists testing a new way to detect viruses in a variety of products stumbled onto fragments of genetic material — broken pieces of DNA — from what’s called porcine circovirus-1 in Rotarix and alerted Glaxo, which confirmed the findings and in turn alerted FDA, Hamburg said.
Rotarix, an oral vaccine, is made from a weakened strain of human rotavirus that has to be grown inside living cells before being purified into a vaccine dose. Glaxo uses a line of monkey kidney cells, or vero cells.
Hamburg said the pig virus DNA fragments have been found in Glaxo’s cell bank, meaning they were present from the vaccine’s earliest development. How the original contamination occurred is under investigation.
Merck’s competing rotavirus vaccine RotaTeq is made by a very different process, and FDA’s testing showed no sign of the pig virus in it.
“We live in a world that’s teeming with microbes,” Hamburg said, but until now this particular pig virus is not one that FDA thought vaccine makers needed to check their products against.
Parents should switch to the Merck vaccine for now — it requires three doses instead of Glaxo’s two — because rotavirus is too serious a disease to ignore, said physician William Schaffner, a vaccine specialist at Vanderbilt University who was briefed on FDA’s decision.
He’s bracing for calls from worried parents and will tell them that “this has been an extraordinarily safe vaccine,” and that the discovery is “a consequence of our improved science and ability to detect things that we never could before.”