The American Bear

Sunshine/Lollipops

How Goldman Made $5 Billion By Manipulating Aluminum Inventories (and Copper is Up Next) | naked capitalism

What sexual favors were exchanged so that the New York Times blunted the impact of an important, detailed investigative story on Goldman profiteering, this time in the aluminum market, by releasing it on a heat-addled summer Saturday?

On a high level, the story sets forth a simple and damning case. Not all that long ago, banks were prohibited from being in operating businesses. But the Federal Reserve and Congress have loosened those rules and big financial players have gone full bore backward integrating from commodities trading into owning major components of the delivery and inventorying systems. This doesn’t just give them a big information advantage by having better access to underlying buying and selling activity. It allows them to manipulate inventories, and thus, prices. And Goldman’s aluminum henanigans increased prices all across the market, not just for the customers who chose to use them for warehousing and delivery.

The article A Shuffle of Aluminum, but to Banks, Pure Gold by David Kocieniewski, tells us that the newly-permissive rules allowed Goldman to buy Metro International Trade Services, a concern in Detroit with 27 warehouses that handles a bit over 25% of the aluminum available for delivery. And here’s where the fun and games begin:

Each day, a fleet of trucks shuffles 1,500-pound bars of the metal among the warehouses. Two or three times a day, sometimes more, the drivers make the same circuits. They load in one warehouse. They unload in another. And then they do it again.

This industrial dance has been choreographed by Goldman to exploit pricing regulations set up by an overseas commodities exchange, an investigation by The New York Times has found. The back–and-forth lengthens the storage time. And that adds many millions a year to the coffers of Goldman, which owns the warehouses and charges rent to store the metal. It also increases prices paid by manufacturers and consumers across the country…

Before Goldman bought Metro International three years ago, warehouse customers used to wait an average of six weeks for their purchases to be located, retrieved by forklift and delivered to factories. But now that Goldman owns the company, the wait has grown more than 20-fold — to more than 16 months, according to industry records.

Longer waits might be written off as an aggravation, but they also make aluminum more expensive nearly everywhere in the country because of the arcane formula used to determine the cost of the metal on the spot market. The delays are so acute that Coca-Cola and many other manufacturers avoid buying aluminum stored here. Nonetheless, they still pay the higher price.

The Times’s sources estimate the price impact across the market at 6 cents per pound, which adds $12 to the price of a typical car. Goldman piously claims it obey all the rules, but obeying the rules is far from operating in a fair or pro-customer manner. Metro’s inventories ballooned from 50,000 tons in 2008 to 850,000 tons in 2010. By 2011, Coca Cola complained to the London Metals Exchange, which attempted to address the situation by increasing the amount that warehouses must ship daily from 1,500 tons to 3,000 tons. But all that appears to have taken place is that Goldman simply shuffles more inventory among the 27 Metro warehouses while thumbing its nose at the LME (its inventories have almost doubled again from the 2010 levels, standing at 1.5 million tons).

The article goes into considerable detail as to how Goldman and its speculator allies manipulate prices (remember that holding inventories off the market results in higher prices, this is supply-demand 101):

Industry analysts and company insiders say that the vast majority of the aluminum being moved around Metro’s warehouses is owned not by manufacturers or wholesalers, but by banks, hedge funds and traders. They buy caches of aluminum in financing deals. Once those deals end and their metal makes it through the queue, the owners can choose to renew them, a process known as rewarranting.

To encourage aluminum speculators to renew their leases, Metro offers some clients incentives of up to $230 a ton, and usually moves their metal from one warehouse to another, according to industry analysts and current and former company employees.

To metal owners, the incentives mean cash upfront and the chance to make more profit if the premiums increase…metal analysts, like Mr. Vazquez at Harbor Aluminum Intelligence, estimate that 90 percent or more of the metal moved at Metro each day goes to another warehouse to play the same game. That figure was confirmed by current and former employees familiar with Metro’s books, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of company policy…

Despite the persistent backlogs, many Metro warehouses operate only one shift and usually sit idle 12 or more hours a day. In a town like Detroit, where factories routinely operate round the clock when necessary, warehouse workers say that low-key pace is uncommon.

When they do work, forklift drivers say, there is much more urgency moving aluminum into, and among, the warehouses than shipping it out. Mr. Clay, the forklift driver, who worked at the Mount Clemens warehouse until February, said that while aluminum was delivered in huge loads by rail car, it left in a relative trickle by truck.

“They’d keep loading up the warehouses and every now and then, when one was totally full they’d shut it down and send the drivers over here to try and fill another one up,” said Mr. Clay, 23.

Because much of the aluminum is simply moved from one Metro facility to another, warehouse workers said they routinely saw the same truck drivers making three or more round trips each day.

There is plenty more damning material in this excellent and important piece, which I strongly urge you to read in full. This is simply another form of looting. And the Times highlights, as we warned, that JP Morgan is running the same trick in copper, and Goldman will join the party. [++]

Everything is Rigged, Vol. 9,713: This Time, It's Currencies | Matt Taibbi

[This] story just landed. Given the LIBOR story, the Interest Rate Swap manipulation story, the Euro gas price manipulation story, the U.S. energy price manipulation story, and (by now) countless others of the “Everything is Rigged” variety, this screams out for immediate notice. Via Bloomberg:

Traders at some of the world’s biggest banks manipulated benchmark foreign-exchange rates used to set the value of trillions of dollars of investments, according to five dealers with knowledge of the practice …

Employees have been front-running client orders and rigging WM/Reuters rates by pushing through trades before and during the 60-second windows when the benchmarks are set, said the current and former traders, who requested anonymity because the practice is controversial. Dealers colluded with counterparts to boost chances of moving the rates, said two of the people, who worked in the industry for a total of more than 20 years.

This time the rates allegedly being rigged are in the foreign-exchange or “FX” markets, meaning that if this story is true, it would almost certainly trump LIBOR for scale/horribleness.

As one friend of mine who works on Wall Street put it, “It’s endless! This is the biggest market in the world.” Bloomberg suggested the story is just the tip of the iceberg:

“The FX market is like the Wild West,” said James McGeehan, who spent 12 years at banks before co-founding Framingham, Massachusetts-based FX Transparency LLC, which advises companies on foreign-exchange trading, in 2009. “It’s buyer beware.”

The $4.7-trillion-a-day currency market, the biggest in the financial system, is one of the least regulated. The inherent conflict banks face between executing client orders and profiting from their own trades is exacerbated because most currency trading takes place away from exchanges.

… [T]he key thing here is the, uh … well, the consistent leitmotif of all these stories. One after another, it’s the same thing: Insiders rigging benchmark rates, shaving money from basically everyone on earth, systematically and over periods of many years. It’s the ultimate taxation-without-representation story – crazy stuff.

Yet, in the fine print, the agency also effectively empowered a handful of select banks to continue controlling the $700 trillion derivatives market. … Just five banks hold more than 90 percent of all derivatives contracts.

Regulators Overhaul Derivatives Market, but With a Caveat | NYTimes.com

$700 trillion derivatives market”

More: Deja Vu on the Hill: Wall Street Lobbyists Roll Back Finance Reform, Again by Matt Taibbi

Foreclosed Homeowners Arrested At DoJ While Demanding Banker Prosecution | Occupy America

On Tuesday morning, homeowners facing foreclosure and housing rights activists from across the country — including the Home Defender’s League and Occupy Our Homes (an off-shoot of Occupy Wall Street) — rallied outside the U.S. Department of Justice to demand Attorney General Holder hold the Wall Street Banks that ravaged America’s economy accountable. Dozens of struggling homeowners are prepared to risk arrest in non-violent civil disobedience or set up an ongoing occupation outside the Department of Justice until demands for Wall Street accountability and relief for their communities are addressed.

The action at the DOJ began on Monday, and although they were supported by over 500 allies, the DOJ decided they would rather jail these everyday Americans than step up to help resolve the ongoing foreclosure crisis. Some of those arrested were even tasered — 17 arrests in all, with two being tasered by police.

[…] The breaking point came for these foreclosure victims who are willing to face arrest if necessary when after agreeing to various settlements since 2008 requiring a total of $5.7 billion in payments to homeowners, “banks have paid less than half” that amount to date, according to the Washington Post:

Critics point to the 2011 agreement the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Fed struck with more than a dozen mortgage servicers as a prime example of the dysfunction. […]

After 12 months, no homeowners had received a dime. But the eight consultants managing the process on behalf of the banks were paid nearly $2 billion. …

[++]

From Detroit to Cyprus, Banksters in Search of Prey | Glen Ford

From Nicosia, Cyprus, to Detroit, Michigan, the global financial octopus is squeezing the life out of society, stripping away public and individual assets in a vain attempt to fend off its own, inevitable collapse. The bankers “troika” that effectively rules Europe prepares to reach into the individual accounts of ordinary depositors on the island nation of Cyprus to fund the bailout of their local banking brethren. Across the Atlantic, a corporate henchman makes arrangements to seize the assets and abolish the political rights of a Black metropolis. The local colorations may vary, but the crisis is the same: massed capital is devouring its social and natural environment. Either we liquidate the banksters, or Wall Street will liquidate us.

The proposed seizure of a big chunk of every ordinary Cypriot depositors’ accounts, in the guise of a one-time “tax,” was shocking even by the standards of the Euro Zone’s overlords: the International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank and European Commission. The original diktat to finance new lines of credit for Cyprus’s over-extended banks called for snatching 6.75 percent of the cash of customers with balances below 100,000 euros ($129,500), and 9.9 percent above that threshold. When the public went berserk, it was proposed that depositors with 20,000 euros or less be spared – but Cypriot lawmakers balked. The banks are now closed, to prevent people from withdrawing their money. But Europe’s ruling triumvirate at the bankers’ lair in Brussels continues to demand that the public-at-large pay to keep the global criminal financial enterprise humming, or be starved out. “In the absence of this measure, Cyprus would have faced scenarios that would have left deposit-holders significantly worse off,” they said – disaster banksterism.

A rapscallion Black lawyer for the notorious corporate law firm Jones Day delivered the bankers’ ultimatum to Detroit. Emergency financial manager Kevyn Orr, anointed by Michigan’s Republican governor, is a bankruptcy specialist whose mission is to liquidate the assets of the 82 percent Black city, especially the revenue-producing Water and Sewerage Department. Orr’s firm’s clients – which, according to their website, include “more than half of the Fortune 500 companies” – have plenty of experience at liquidating in Detroit. Butch Hollowell, general counsel for the local NAACP, says Wells Fargo has “done more foreclosures in Detroit and the state of Michigan than any other firm,” and is Detroit’s number one property tax scofflaw. Jones Day also represents Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase and CitiGroup.

“These are firms that not only got billions in TARP bailouts, but they’re also the same ones that defrauded people into signing these predatory leases which cause the crash of the housing market,” said Hollowell. “Detroit has been hit harder than anyplace in the country on that score” – hugely aggravating the city’s money problems. Financial manager Kevyn Orr’s job is to extract more booty from Detroit for the bankers’ vaults.

To facilitate the theft of the city’s property, its citizens must first be stripped of their political and civil rights, through the neutering of their elected officials. Orr looks forward to the project. “While I understand there’s a lot of concern and emotion behind the concept that I’m depriving people of certain rights,” he said, “actually it’s very consistent with both the history of this country and specifically in this state.” What he’s about to do “is democracy in action.”

This corporate concept of democracy has already devalued the franchise of the 49 percent of Michigan’s Black population that live in municipalities and school districts under the thumb of outside financial managers, a violation of both the Voting Rights Act and the one man-one vote rule embodied in the 14th Amendment, says the NAACP’s Hollowell.

Black Baptist pastors and the AFSCME and UAW unions will join the NAACP’s planned legal action against the “hostile takeover” of Detroit – which is fine, as a civil rights response. But this is a much bigger battle.

Detroit and the people of Cyprus share the same enemy, a class that is beyond the reach of simple civil rights suits. The Lords of Capital on Wall Street and the City of London and the Federal Reserve in Washington and in the “troika” at Brussels confront their own existential crisis, which compels them to liquidate the public sector so that it can eventually be transferred to their own balance sheets. There are many ways to accomplish this, through privatization of existing public institutions, or by simply blowing a hole in public services and allowing privateers to fill the void, subsidized by public funds. However, nothing can save the banksters from inevitable, and increasingly imminent, collapse. Ever-increasing profit margins must be achieved, somehow, or the system implodes. Hundreds of trillions of notional dollars in derivatives must be serviced and fed by a class that makes nothing and can only survive by chicanery and coercion by governments under their control.

In Cyprus, they are prepared to brazenly snatch euros directly from working and retired people’s accounts to fund a bank bailout, without even bothering to construct a convoluted pathway from the victims’ accounts to their own. They have reached the point of outright confiscation, and will not stop until they have stripped society of the potential to save itself from the ruins.

We have no choice but to confiscate them – to destroy them utterly as a class.

Freddie Mac Sues More Than A Dozen Banks Over Libor Losses

Mortgage finance company Freddie Mac is suing more than a dozen banks for losses from the alleged manipulation of the benchmark interest rate known as Libor.

Bank of America Corp, JPMorgan Chase & Co, UBS AG and Credit Suisse Group AG are among the banks named as defendants in the lawsuit.

Freddie Mac, which invested in mortgage bonds and swaps tied to U.S. dollar Libor, claims the banks colluded to rig the benchmark from 2007 to 2010, according to the complaint, which was filed March 14 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Freddie Mac sued for undetermined damages.

The inspector general of the Federal Housing Finance Authority, which oversees Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, said the two government-controlled mortgage companies may have suffered more than $3 billion in losses as a result of Libor manipulation, according to an internal memo obtained by Reuters in December.

In the memo, the watchdog urged the companies’ regulator to consider legal action.

Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, UBS, Credit Suisse and other banks did not immediately respond to calls for comment or declined to comment.

More than a dozen banks have been under scrutiny by authorities in the United States, Japan and Europe over claims they altered the Libor to hide financial problems and boost profits.

Freddie Mac said it discovered the fraud and collusion when Britain’s Barclays admitted in June it submitted false Libor submissions, according to the complaint. The bank agreed to pay $453 million that month to settle with British and U.S. authorities.

UBS was fined $1.5 billion in December for fiddling with interest rates, and Royal Bank of Scotland Group settled with authorities for $612 million in February.

The case is The Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation v Bank of America, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia 13-cv-00342.

Holder’s comments don’t come as a total surprise. His underlings had already made similar confessions to The New York Times last year, after they declined to prosecute HSBC for flagrant, years-long violations of money-laundering laws, out of fear that doing so would hurt the global economy. Lanny Breuer, formerly in charge of doling out the Justice Department’s wrist slaps to banks, told Frontline as much in the documentary “The Untouchables,” which aired in January. Some observers have defended the Justice Department, suggesting that prosecuting law-breaking banks would amount to a death penalty that could upset the financial system and trigger another recession — although nobody really knows if it would do any such thing. But by not prosecuting law-breaking banks, and confessing to its terror of prosecuting those banks, the Justice Department has waved a big checkered flag to the biggest banks to go ahead and break all of the laws they want. Eric Holder Admits Some Banks Are Just Too Big To Prosecute (via gonzodave)

(via gonzodave)

DOJ Urges Federal Court to Approve Sweetheart Deal with Drug-Tainted HSBC | Dissident Voice

In late January, Bloomberg News reported that US prosecutors have “asked a federal judge to sign off on HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA)’s $1.9 billion [£1.2bn] settlement of charges it enabled drug cartels to launder millions of dollars in trafficking proceeds.”

Prosecutors justified the settlement on grounds that “it includes the largest-ever forfeiture in the prosecution of a bank and provides for monitoring to prevent future violations,” arguing that “strict conditions, and the unprecedented forfeiture and penalties imposed, serve as a significant deterrent against future similar conduct.”

Let’s get this sick joke straight: here’s a bank that laundered billions of dollars for Colombian and Mexican drug lords, admittedly amongst the most violent gangsters on earth (120,000 dead Mexicans and counting since 2006) and we’re supposed to take this deal seriously. Seriously? Remember, this an institution whose pretax 2012 profits will exceed $23.5 billion (£15.63bn) when earnings are reported next week and the best the US government can do is extract a promise to “do better”–next time.

That deal, a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) was cobbled together between the outgoing head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Lanny A. Breuer and HSBC, Europe’s largest bank. At the urging of former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, no criminal charges were sought–or brought–against senior bank executives. [more]

Many people became rightfully upset about bailouts given to big banks during the mortgage crisis. But it turns out that they are still going on, if more quietly, through the back door. The existence of one such secret deal, struck in July between the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Bank of America, came to light just last week in court filings. That the New York Fed would shower favors on a big financial institution may not surprise. It has long shielded large banks from assertive regulation and increased capital requirements. Still, last week’s details of the undisclosed settlement between the New York Fed and Bank of America are remarkable. Not only do the filings show the New York Fed helping to thwart another institution’s fraud case against the bank, they also reveal that the New York Fed agreed to give away what may be billions of dollars in potential legal claims. Don’t Blink, or You’ll Miss Another Bank Bailout | Gretchen Morgenson

Borrowers with good credit who can meet the standard down payment requirement (usually 10 percent) can secure financing without too much trouble. The problem is that the banks don’t want to be limited to creditworthy applicants alone, because there aren’t enough creditworthy applicants interested in buying a house. That’s why they want Obama to loosen regulations on ‘government insured’ mortgages so they can lend money to anyone they want knowing that Uncle Sam will pay the bill when the loans go belly-up. That is what this is all about; Obama wants congress to slap their seal of approval on a new regime of crappy loans that will eventually be dumped on US taxpayers. Obama, Housing and the Next Big Heist (via azspot)

(via azspot)

Lanny Breuer Now Blames 94 US Attorneys for Immunizing Banksters | Marcy Wheeler

Lanny [Breuer has] adopted a new excuse to deny responsibility for letting the most destructive criminals in the country walk free (note, Lanny appears to be ignorant of SarBox regulations that wouldn’t even require this kind of intent):

“I understand why people are upset,” Breuer said. “But we have 94 U.S. attorneys and they don’t report to me. Not one of them determined that there was a criminal case to be had. These are very complicated cases and they were just simply, on the merits, not cases that could be brought criminally.”

Breuer said Wall Street executives would have been prosecuted if the investigators could have proved criminal intent. “I have the same DNA in all of these cases,” Breuer said. “It’s just not plausible that in one area we would be overly scared and in all the other areas we would be aggressive.”

Well okay then. In this article, Lanny takes or is given credit for the BP pleas, two Medicare cases, 40 corporate cases (by Robert Khuzami, almost all of which resulted in settlements), the La Cosa Nostra take down, and LIBOR “prosecutions” (reportedly DOJ will charge UBS shortly). Of those, I’m only aware of the BP investigation being led by a task force rather than a traditional US Attorney structure. Yet Lanny wants to claim credit for all these prosecutions and settlements, but blame his US Attorneys–all 94 US Attorneys (!) when we’re really talking maybe 4 or 5 who would face a complex bankster case, and really just New York’s Preet Bharara, whom Lanny himself gave jurisdiction over some of the highest profile cases–for not prosecuting the banksters.

It’s not Lanny’s fault the banksters have gone free, you see, it’s the fault of people like John Leonardo, Arizona’s US Attorney, Alicia Limtiaco, Guam’s US Attorney, or Felicia Adams, Northern Mississippi’s US Attorney, all of whom had no hint of jurisdiction in these cases.

This, in spite of the fact that Lanny has repeatedly admitted being personally involved in the bankster cases.

This, in spite of the fact that Lanny did play a leadership role in one of the few cases that had a similar task force structure as BP–the mortgage fraud settlement. In that case, Lanny under-resourced the investigative team, ensuring it would be unable to do adequate investigation to reach adequate settlement. And he didn’t even show up for the big announcement that–basically–the settlement was immunizing the banksters for stealing millions of people’s homes. Somehow, now that it’s time to claim credit, Lanny has forgotten about that willful attempt to help banks bury their crimes.

Lanny has, in the past, clearly admitted to actions that led directly to amnesty for banksters. But in his effort to shore up his reputation as he heads out the door (though not until March 1, unfortunately), he’s gonna blame everyone else for the fact that, on his watch, the most destructive criminals in the country got a pass.

Wetting their beak, as the mafiosos like to say…

shiracoffee:

How Big Banks Are Making Jobless Americans Pay Millions To Access Their Benefits

from Think Progress by Pat Garofalo

According to a new report from the National Consumer Law Center, jobless Americans are being forced to pay millions of dollars in unnecessary fees to big banks in order to access their unemployment insurance benefits. Several states do not give beneficiaries the option of having their benefits deposited directly into their bank accounts, forcing them to instead use prepaid debt cards, which come along with a host of fees and surcharges.

As the Associated press noted, the nation’s biggest banks make a killing under this system:

Banks including JPMorgan Chase & Co., U.S. Bancorp and Bank of America Corp. seized on government payments as a business opportunity.They pitched card programs to states as a win-win: States would save millions in overhead costs because the cards would be issued for free. And people without bank accounts would avoid the big fees charged by storefront check cashers.

However, most of the people being hit with fees already have bank accounts.The bank-state partnerships effectively shifted the cost of distributing payments from governments to individuals. The money needed to cover those costs is deducted from people’s unemployment benefits in the form of fees.

Big banks have also racked up huge profits administering food stamp programs. As the NCLC noted, “Even well-designed prepaid cards impose costs on workers, though the price is likely lower than the cost of cashing paper checks. In California, which continues to have the best card in our survey, workers paid nearly $1.8 million in fees in the past year, not including ATM surcharges. Thus, offering workers the choice of direct deposit remains important even for prepaid cards with the fewest fees.”

Look, banks already have a monopoly on lending money at interest and creating adequate supplies of money through the fractional reserve system. Their entire business model is created by government mandate, and they shouldn’t be allowed to “dip their beaks” as the government disburses benefits. This is patently unfair and siphons off benefits that would otherwise flow into the real economy, helping to create jobs.

(Source: wateringgoodseeds)

If Dimon means what he says, he shouldn’t be complaining about how society at large is obliged to fix the problem. JPMorgan should be doing something about JPMorgan to make sure it’s not too-big-to-fail — like break itself up. That’s a pipe dream. JPMorgan isn’t going to voluntarily give up the reduced cost of capital and other competitive advantages that come with the federal government’s backing of systemically important financial institutions. Jamie Dimon complaining that the world must end too-big-to-fail is like Darth Vader bemoaning the intergalactic dominance of the Death Star. Jonathan Weil, Jamie Dimon Laments Too-Big-to-Fail? Give Me a Break

The Untouchables: How the Obama administration protected Wall Street from prosecutions | Glenn Greenwald

… [The FRONTLINE report] recalls that both in Washington and the country generally, “there was broad support for prosecuting Wall Street.” Nonetheless: “four years later, there have been no arrests of any senior Wall Street executives.”

In response to the DOJ’s excuse-making that these criminal cases are too hard to win, numerous experts - Senators, top Hill staffers, former DOJ prosecutors - emphasized the key point: Obama officials never even tried. One of the heroes of “The Untouchables”, former Democratic Sen. Ted Kaufman, worked tirelessly to provide the DOJ with all the funds it needed to ensure probing criminal investigations and even to pressure and compel them to do so. Yet when he and his staff would meet with Breuer and other top DOJ officials, they would proudly tout the small mortgage brokers they were pursuing, in response to which Kafuman and his staff said: “No. Don’t show me small-time mortgage guys in California. This is totally about what went on in Wall Street… . We are talking about investigating senior level Wall Street executives, even at the Board level”. (The same Lanny Breuer was recently seen announcing that the banking giant HSBC would face no criminal prosecution for its money laundering of funds for designated terrorist groups and drug networks on the ground that the bank was too big to risk prosecuting).

As Kaufman and his staffers make clear, Obama officials were plainly uninterested in pursuing criminal accountability for Wall Street. One former staffer to both Biden and Kaufman, Jeff Connaughton, wrote a book in 2011 - “The Payoff: Why Wall Street Always Wins” - devoted to alerting the nation that the Obama DOJ refused even to try to find criminal culprits on Wall Street. In the book, this career-Democratic-aide-turned-whistleblower details how the levers of Washington power are used to shield and protect high-level Wall Street executives, many of whom have close ties to the leaders of both parties and themselves are former high-level government officials. This is a system, he makes clear, that is constituted to ensure that those executives never face real accountability even for their most egregious and destructive crimes.

The reason there have been no efforts made to criminally investigate is obvious. Former banking regulator and current securities Professor Bill Black told Bill Moyers in 2009 that “Timothy Geithner, the Secretary of the Treasury, and others in the administration, with the banks, are engaged in a cover up to keep us from knowing what went wrong.” In the documentary “Inside Job”, the economist Nouriel Roubini, when asked why there have been no such investigations, replied: “Because then you’d find the culprits.” Underlying all of that is what the Senate’s second-highest ranking Democrat, Dick Durbin, admitted in 2009: the banks “frankly own the place”. [++]