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Andrew Ross Sorkin, regarding that cache of to-be-released bank documents Wikileaks has:

You’d think that bank executives would be quaking in their Gucci loafers.  But guess who may be even more nervous about the possible data dump?  Regulators in Washington.

It seems the prospect of gigabytes of e-mail and other documents from financial institutions can be viewed one of two ways: as a treasure trove for regulators to scrutinize — or as an embarrassment for the United States government, which has spent millions of dollars investigating Wall Street in the last two years without a scalp to show for it.

Even without taking into account the huge irony the first option would involve, a simple comparison of how Joe Average not carrying a zero in the right place on his tax return is approached by government agents versus elephant shit obvious fraud in the billions says the smart money is on the latter.  It’s not that anything in particular prevents them from uncovering these type of dealings, it’s that they don’t want to.  Institutionally speaking, the government fulfills the same role for the banks that a getaway driver does when someone pulls a heist the old-fashioned way.

Of course, no one knows what information Mr. Assange actually has or how damaging it could be to any financial firm. In truth, it is hard to believe any e-mails could be that shocking. The scuttlebutt is that WikiLeaks will reveal documents in which bankers discussed how they duped a client, how they dressed up their numbers or even how they tried to pull one over on regulators. Sadly, perhaps cynically, that’s almost to be expected.

The big surprise would be that such chicanery was documented, in black and white, and that regulators hadn’t found it yet — or worse, they had found it and did nothing about it.  Indeed, legal experts say that if evidence emerged of shady dealings, the biggest problem regulators may face would be explaining to the public why they had not brought charges against a bank. (emphasis mine)

Probably because the way that the current financial structure we live within works, you can’t really charge one without charging them all, as their business model depends on the same trickery.  Eventually, the question will stop being “Bank X did ___, why wasn’t it stopped?”, and start becoming “If banks as we know them can’t exist without doing ____, what is there to this banking system worth keeping?”.  This next nudge will be well worth the wait.


About b-psycho

Left-libertarian blogger & occasional musician.
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