Great piece from Salon:
Wikileaks, the U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi sent a communication to the U.S. Secretary of State and U.S. Treasury on December 22, 2009, alerting them to the fact that the investment arm of a U.S. ally, Abu Dhabi, believed it had been defrauded of $4 billion by Citigroup (Wall Street’s serial miscreant and recent ward of the taxpayer). The cable relayed that William Brown, legal advisor to the Abu Dhabi investment arm, “unequivocally stated that Citi ‘lied’ and must be held accountable.”
Three years later, Abu Dhabi has likely figured out that in the U.S., gangsters have guns but banksters are far more dangerous – they have ivy league educated lawyers. One group of lawyers writes the prospectuses that defraud investors; another group writes the contracts that bar these cases from ever seeing sunshine in a public courtroom; and the third group provides skillful white color criminal defense, including a speed dial to their pals in Washington, ensuring that justice will be as elusive as a Wall Street CEO clad in orange.
A three month search of records, that have not yet been sealed or redacted, show that Abu Dhabi landed in the same plundered status as public pension funds and small time investors in Citigroup, while a very special Group of Six reaped a windfall.
It all started with a handshake from a former U.S. Treasury Secretary. On Monday, November 26, 2007, four days after Thanksgiving, Robert Rubin was standing in one of the most spectacular waterfront buildings in the Middle East – the headquarters of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority. With two finger-like wings, the gleaming building showcases an atrium soaring 40 stories into the sky.
Rubin, a former Co-Chairman of Goldman Sachs, whose lavish pay at Citigroup since leaving Treasury in 1999 had reached $120 million for eight years of non-management work, had more than architecture on his mind that day. He had reluctantly agreed to serve as interim Chairman of Citigroup after the company had earlier that month forced out its Chairman and CEO, Chuck Prince, following spectacular losses and a sinking share price. Rubin was on a critical mission to secure a $7.5 billion lifeline for Citigroup.