S.E.C. Settlement With Citigroup Holds No One Responsible

The big banks are basically paying their way out of jail and their criminal crimes. The government are jailing the small fishes and not the big fishes. But, for the average person that does the same crimes as the banksters did are sent to the jail with no option like the banksters to pay a fine in exchange for a get out of jail card for free.

How can we expect Wall Street’s me-first culture to change when regulators won’t pursue or even identify the me-firsters who are directly involved?

That question came to mind after reading the terms of a settlement struck on Aug. 17 between the Securities and Exchange Commission and two units of Citigroup. It is a deal that holds no one at the bank accountable for behavior that caused investors to lose an estimated $2 billion.

The settlement involved a disastrous municipal bond strategy the bank concocted and peddled to 4,000 wealthy clients from 2002 until early 2008. It was sold to investors as a safe-money option, even though it used considerable leverage, which always brings hazards when assets decline.

Citigroup will pay $180 million in the settlement, most of which will be distributed to wronged investors. The bank neither admitted nor denied the S.E.C.’s allegations. A spokesman said the bank was pleased to have resolved the matter.

Read on.

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