US still burdened by financial woes

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Below are a few snippets regarding the investigation being conducted by Neil Barofsky, Special Inspector General of the TARP watchdog. The plot is thickening, as they say …

First up, a few paragraphs from Bloomberg.

“The US Troubled Asset Relief Program’s watchdog expanded investigations into misconduct in the $700 billion federal bank rescue program, increasing the number of opened cases by 41 percent in the fourth quarter.

“Special Inspector General Neil Barofsky began 25 criminal and civil probes in the quarter, and had 77 total active cases, according to a quarterly report to Congress published today. Through the third quarter of 2009, the Washington-based office opened 61 cases with 54 active, he said at the time.

“Examiners are looking into possible wrongdoing related to the financial-industry bailout, including insider trading, accounting violations, mortgage fraud, public corruption, obstruction of justice and money laundering, according to the report. Barofsky didn’t identify the targets of pending investigations, although details on a few cases have emerged.

“Barofsky confirmed last week he is probing whether the Federal Reserve Bank of New York improperly limited release of information about payments to American International Group Inc.’s counterparties when the insurer was rescued.

“AIG’s first rescue was an $85 billion credit line from the New York Fed. The bailout was expanded three times and is now valued at $182.3 billion.”

Next, Barofsky explains why he thinks the program isn’t working and could actually be putting the US at a greater risk of economic calamity.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Source: MSNBC, February 1, 2010 (hat tip: The Big Picture).

Lastly, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner says he will always feel legitimate pressure from the public even though the bailout wasn’t “under his watch”.

Source: CNN Money, February 1, 2010.

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1 comment to US still burdened by financial woes

  • Warren

    My understanding of the AIG debacle is that the London trading desk of AIG entered into Credit Default Swaps (CDSs)without hedging their position(s). Insurance companies are mostly regulated at the state level which might explain why AIG’s London activities were not adequately monitored by regulators. Although incredibly stupid from a risk management standpoint, it does not appear to be illegal to take bets with Credit Default Swaps without laying off an appropriate amount of risk to others or hedging one’s position(s).

    I think the American taxpayer wants to hear that all of the irresponsible traders in AIG’s London office were let go (without severance or bonuses)and civil law action was taken to recoup any losses caused by traders who failed to follow any risk management parameters that hopefully were in place but tragically ignored! If my understanding of AIG’s travails are incorrect, please comment and elaborate.

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