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In U.s. Bailout Of A.i.g., Forgiveness For Big Banks

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http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/30/business/30aig.html?ref=business

At the end of the American International Group’s annual meeting last month, a shareholder approached the microphone with a question for Robert Benmosche, the insurer’s chief executive.

“I’d like to know, what does A.I.G. plan to do with Goldman Sachs?” he asked. “Are you going to get — recoup — some of our money that was given to them?”

Mr. Benmosche, steward of an insurer brought to its knees two years ago after making too many risky, outsize financial bets and paying billions of dollars in claims to Goldman and other banks, said he would continue evaluating his legal options. But, in reality, A.I.G. has precious few.

When the government began rescuing it from collapse in the fall of 2008 with what has become a $182 billion lifeline, A.I.G. was required to forfeit its right to sue several banks — including Goldman, Société Générale, Deutsche Bank and Merrill Lynch — over any irregularities with most of the mortgage securities it insured in the precrisis years.

But after the Securities and Exchange Commission’s civil fraud suit filed in April against Goldman for possibly misrepresenting a mortgage deal to investors, A.I.G. executives and shareholders are asking whether A.I.G. may have been misled by Goldman into insuring mortgage deals that the bank and others may have known were flawed.

This month, an Australian hedge fund sued Goldman on similar grounds. Goldman is contesting the suit and denies any wrongdoing. A spokesman for A.I.G. declined to comment about any plans to sue Goldman or any other banks with which it worked. A Goldman spokesman said that his firm believed that “all aspects of our relationship with A.I.G. were appropriate.”

A Legal Waiver

Unknown outside of a few Wall Street legal departments, the A.I.G. waiver was released last month by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform amid 250,000 pages of largely undisclosed documents. The documents, reviewed by The New York Times, provide the most comprehensive public record of how the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the Treasury Department orchestrated one of the biggest corporate bailouts in history.

The documents also indicate that regulators ignored recommendations from their own advisers to force the banks to accept losses on their A.I.G. deals and instead paid the banks in full for the contracts. That decision, say critics of the A.I.G. bailout, has cost taxpayers billions of extra dollars in payments to the banks. It also contrasts with the hard line the White House took in 2008 when it forced Chrysler’s lenders to take losses when the government bailed out the auto giant.

As a Congressional commission convenes hearings Wednesday exploring the A.I.G. bailout and Goldman’s relationship with the insurer, analysts say that the documents suggest that regulators were overly punitive toward A.I.G. and overly forgiving of banks during the bailout — signified, they say, by the fact that the legal waiver undermined A.I.G. and its shareholders’ ability to recover damages.

“Even if it turns out that it would be a hard suit to win, just the gesture of requiring A.I.G. to scrap its ability to sue is outrageous,” said David Skeel, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania. “The defense may be that the banking system was in trouble, and we couldn’t afford to destabilize it anymore, but that just strikes me as really going overboard.”

“This really suggests they had myopia and they were looking at it entirely through the perspective of the banks,” Mr. Skeel said.

Regulators at the New York Fed declined to comment on the legal waiver but disagreed with that viewpoint.

“This was not about the banks,” said Sarah J. Dahlgren, a senior vice president for the New York Fed who oversees A.I.G. “This was about stabilizing the system by preventing the disorderly collapse of A.I.G. and the potentially devastating consequences of that event for the U.S. and global economies.”

Why take losses when they can be socialised on the taxpayer.

I wonder how long before the American public demand action.

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http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/jun/29/us-banks-off-the-hook-until-2022

It was billed by Barack Obama as the toughest crackdown on Wall Street since the great depression. But top US banks could be given until 2022 to comply with the so-called Volcker rule, which is supposed to restrict financial institutions' risker trading activities.

A string of delays and extension periods written into a final version of Congress's financial regulation reform bill means that firms such as Citigroup and Goldman Sachs could exploit loopholes until 2022 before withdrawing from "illiquid" funds such as private equity. The long gestation period is an example of the degree of compromise inserted into the package following months of lobbying on Capitol Hill by powerful banks.

"You can't just say 'stop', you can't just say 'unwind,'" said Lawrence Kaplan, a lawyer at Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker in Washington, who said the delay was a dose of political reality. "These things have contracts and detailed legal frameworks. You can't undo them without doing considerable harm."

The Volcker rule, championed by formed Federal Reserve boss Paul Volcker, stops banks from engaging in "proprietary trading" whereby they trade with their own capital, rather than clients' money. It also severely restricts their investments in high-risk hedge funds and private equity ventures.

Language in the act, according to Bloomberg News, allows for a six-month study and a further nine months of rule-making. The measure is supposed to become effective 12 months after the final rule is laid, then banks have two years to conform. But if they need to, they can apply for a three-year extension. On top of that, a five-year moratorium is available for "illiquid" funds that are hard to unwind.

And then they get more than a decade to comply with rules.

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  • 140 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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