Category Archives: William K. Black

AG Holder: “Thank you Fed and OCC”

By William K. Black

The second omission in Attorney General Eric Holder’s press conference about the settlement with Citi was “Thank you Fed and OCC.” The Federal Reserve (Fed) and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) are Citi’s financial regulators. In my first installment in this series I explained Holder’s shameful failure at the press conference to thank Richard M. Bowen, III – the whistleblower who handed DOJ on a platinum platter what should have been its criminal case against a vast swath of Citi’s most senior leadership.

Holder’s Failure to Thank the Regulators

Holder also failed to thank the Fed and the OCC at the same press conference. He should have thanked them for their criminal referrals on Citi’s senior managers and their provision of irreplaceable expertise throughout the investigation. In particular, he should have praised examiners A, B & C, who the Fed and OCC detailed to the FBI so that they could serve as its in-house experts. By detailing examiners to work for the FBI they are able to receive “6 (e)” grand jury testimony and documents and explain their significance to the FBI and the prosecutors.

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AG Holder: “Thank you, Richard Bowen”

By William K. Black

Those should have been the first four words of Attorney General Eric Holder at the press conference announcing the settlement with Citicorp.

This article is the first in a series of pieces discussing the critical omissions in Holder’s statement at that press conference.  These omissions explain why elite banksters now routinely control our largest banks and use their power to become wealthy through leading fraud epidemics, with impunity from the law, that cause the our financial crises.

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Two EU Finance Ministers Throw their Bosses and Nations Under the Bus

By William K. Black

The finance ministers of Italy and Serbia have just publicly thrown their heads of state and their nations under the bus.  In a testament to the crippling effect of the belief that “there is no alternative” (TINA) to austerity, these finance ministers have insisted on bleeding economies that are in desperate need of fiscal stimulus.  Their pursuit of economic malpractice is so determined that they eagerly sought out opportunities to embarrass the democratically elected head of state in Serbia when he dared to support competent economic policies.

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John Cochrane’s Witch Hunt for Witch Hunters

By William K. Black

John Cochrane is an economist at the University of Chicago.  The Wall Street Journal has just featured his op ed piece entitled “The Failure of Macroeconomics.”

I’ll focus on his foray into criminology as a component of economic growth. Cochrane’s column ignores the paramount role that the three epidemics of “accounting control fraud” played in hyper-inflating the bubble and causing the financial crisis – which cost over 10 million American jobs and a projected $21 trillion loss of production.  Instead, he claims that the economic recovery is weak because “Who wants to hire, lend or invest when the next stroke of the presidential pen or Justice Department witch hunt can undo all the hard work?”

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The Big Lie at the Core of Pete Peterson’s Attack on the Baby Boomers

By William K. Black

For the purposes of writing a column I ended up reading materials written by the financial industry PR specialist Makovsky and found this nugget. A Makovsky executive was interviewed about Millennials and he explained the finance industry’s perspective on that group.  Millennials have been leading victims of financial fraud and the resultant Great Recession so they have no love of financial firms:  “the four major banks in the U.S, were ranked in the 10 least loved brands among Millennials according to Viacom.

The Millennials’ disdain for big finance is terrifying to finance for an excellent reason that Makovsky quantified.

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Merkel’s Pyrrhic Victory over Cameron

By William K. Black

The old line that one should be very careful about what one wishes for – for you may receive it applies to Germany’s installation of Jean-Claude Juncker as head of the EU Commission. Germany’s Prime Minister Angela Merkel has just crushed her UK counterpart (David Cameron) by orchestrating a nearly unanimous vote among EU nations to appoint (not, really, “elect”) Juncker as head of the EU Commission (not, really, “Parliament”).

The old days of needing to hide Germany’s control of the EU through the façade of a German-French partnership are long gone.  EU nations know that there will be a high price to pay for attempting to buck Germany – and that the effort will fail.  Cameron’s effort to block Juncker is generally viewed outside of the UK as quixotic and humiliating while Merkel is viewed as reigning supreme and serene.

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Corporate Fraud is Up Dramatically: Has anyone told John Cochrane?

By William K. Black

John Cochrane, the U. Chicago apologist-in-chief for elite corporate criminals, might want to read what the industry says about fraud.  Cochrane claims that the reason we have a modest economic recovery has nothing to do with inadequate demand, but is instead caused by government civil suits (not even prosecutions) against the financial industry’s massive frauds.

Cochrane apparently knows that corporate fraud does not exist, which is why he describes the government’s civil fraud suits as a “witch hunt.”  As I’ve described several times, Cochrane refuses to read the relevant criminology literature, but perhaps he’s willing to listen to the industry.

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It’s Long Past Time for Krugman to Name and Shame NYT’s Eurozone Reportage

By William K. Black

Monday, July 7, 2014 provided another example of Paul Krugman explaining why austerity was an insane response to the Great Recession and the New York Times authoring another of its endless articles that assumes that austerity is essential to a eurozone recovery. I have no problem with the NYT reporters providing their rationale for why they concluded that Krugman was wrong and that austerity is the proper response to a recession. My problems are with the NYT reporters ignoring Krugman’s views – views shared by the great bulk of economists – and with their failure to question whether austerity is the proper response to a recession.

Recessions occur when demand becomes seriously inadequate and industries fire workers and decrease production and investment. Austerity further reduces already inadequate demand by reducing public sector demand. Austerity is akin to bleeding the patient (the economy) to make him well. It would, therefore, be exceptionally strange if austerity were to be the optimal response to the Great Recession. We have a great deal of real world experience in dealing with recessions that confirms that austerity is self-destructive in such circumstances.

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Gowex Shows Why Lending is the Best Venue for Accounting Control Fraud

By William K. Black
(Cross posted on Benzinga.com)

A classic accounting control fraud, Gowex, has collapsed in Spain.  Gowex was a wi-fi firm.  It was able to run its scam for at least four years.  It was a crude scam that involved simply making up contracts and borrowing to grow rapidly.

“The US firm Gotham City Research had described Gowex as a ‘charade’ and said that its revenues were ‘at most’ 10% of those reported.”

As soon as Gotham City Research blew the whistle on Gowex it made it impossible for Gowex to borrow additional funds and avoid collapse.

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Obama Consults a “Wide Variety of Economists” – Just Not Those Who Got it Right

By William K. Black

In a PR effort that aptly illustrates his approach to governance, President Obama has revealed that he is meeting with a “wide variety of economists” to try to figure out what economic policies he should follow.  “Obama Seeks Advice From Wide Variety of Economists.”

Obama is already well into the lame duck phase of his presidency, so this is simply a PR exercise.  The message Obama wants to send is the same one he has sounded throughout his presidency.  He is open to economic views from the parts of the political spectrum that range from the hard right to the mild left.

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