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Last Chance for Justice

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THE CRISIS
Two years into the revelation that Wall Street was playing a giant confidence game with the world, disguising bad and often fraudulent mortgages as highly rated securities, selling scam derivatives by the trillions, there have been no major prosecutions. Newsweek reports a float in taxpayer bailouts and the giant bonuses they're awarding themselves once again, Wall Streeters are back to being their feisty selves. No executive has gone to jail. The only ones who've resigned are those who had no choice because their companies disappeared (James Cayne of Bear Stearns, Dick Fuld of Lehman, John Thain of Merrill Lynch) or who were shown to be such astonishing incompetents that their boards had no choice but to can them (Stanley O'Neal of Merrill, Chuck Prince of Citigroup). The handful of prosecutions on the horizon are not promising: the trial of former Bear Stearns hedge-fund managers Ralph Cioffi and Matthew Tannin starts in mid-October, but their lawyers are confident they can show that the duo was simply foolish, not criminal. A grand jury has been convened to look into the behavior of Joseph Cassano, the former AIG executive who sold $500 billion worth of credit-default swaps without hedging them. But Cassano will no doubt argue the same thing: "I was just a moron." It will be hard for any jury to disagree.
SOURCE:   Newsweek

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