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商业 - 金融

金融危机犯罪SEC胜诉比率仅1/4

Stephen Gandel 2013年08月06日

上周,美国证券交易委员会诉前高盛交易员法布雷斯•图尔在金融危机期间违法的诉讼胜诉,监管层额手称庆。不过,近年来SEC成功控诉金融危机犯罪的案例少之又少,胜率仅有可怜的25%,多数案件在审理前就已经达成了和解。

    目前只有这一宗。

    上周四,在金融危机近五年后,美国证券交易委员会(Securities and Exchange Commission)终于证明,它有能力让一位曾任中层交易员的30多岁研究生为金融危机的罪责承担责任。司法正义终于得到伸张!

    但陪审团裁定前高盛(Goldman Sachs)交易员法布雷斯•图尔有罪一事并不足以改变SEC在控诉金融危机犯罪方面可怜的成功纪录。在近五年时间里,这家华尔街监管机构仅对6位个人提起过4宗金融危机相关的诉讼,所有这6个人相对而言都是小角色。其中,唯一一位被认定有罪的就是图尔。

    “它们提起诉讼的胜诉纪录不太漂亮,”前SEC执法官员、德汇律师事务所(Dorsey and Whitney)合伙人托马斯•高曼说。

    而SEC的实际纪录更像是1比7。这是因为前贝尔斯登(Bear Stearns)对冲基金经理拉尔夫•乔菲和马修•坦宁在美国司法部的刑事诉讼中被判无罪后,SEC与这两个人达成了和解。法官批准了SEC的和解,但此前也表示,SEC的和解金额是“一笔小钱”。在另外一宗案件中,SEC不得不一百八十度大转弯,要求一名法官放弃对爱德华•斯特福林提起诉讼;斯特福林为摩根大通(JPMorgan Chase)建议的一款按揭债券损失惨重。为此,《纽约时报》(New York Times)撰文写道,“如果斯特福林能够算得上是某种标志性的人物,那一定是监管机构手伸得太长的牺牲品。”

    要知道,金融危机期间,夸大交易实际价值的人也远不止这9个人。一些私人投资者们指控,他们发现有电子邮件和其他证据证明,银行家们知道他们出售给客户的产品是垃圾。比如一项针对摩根士丹利(Morgan Stanley)的案件证据就显示,银行家们正在促成的一项交易根本就是“一文不值”。但是,摩根士丹利还从未向SEC支付与按揭交易相关的任何罚款。SEC最近已表示,将调查这类案件中的一部分私人案件,以确定它们是否漏掉了什么。思路不错。

    SEC另外还有55宗金融危机相关案件都在审理之前就达成和解,其中一些涉及巨额罚款。比如,高盛就支付了5.50亿美元。但大多数和解是与公司达成的,不是个人。而且,罚款总额远远不及投资者在华尔街垃圾抵押债券上遭受的损失,以及那些曾进行他们认为安全的房屋按揭贷款、但最终房屋被止赎的投资者所承受的痛苦。

    不过,图尔案件后,SEC还是很快就额手称庆了。SEC执法部门联席主管安德鲁•赛热斯内在一份声明中表示:“我们将持续不懈地追究那些在华尔街实施欺诈者的责任,并在必要的时候提起诉讼。”

    但5年过去了,只有一起案件判处有罪。所以,你懂的,没什么可庆贺的。(财富中文网)

    So that's one.

    On Thursday, nearly five years after the financial crisis, the Securities and Exchange Commission proved that it was able to hold one mid-level, thirtysomething former trader-turned grad student accountable for crimes of the financial crisis. Justice served!

    But the fact that a jury found former Goldman Sachs (GS) trader Fabrice Tourre liable isn't enough to change this: The SEC's track record on prosecuting financial crisis crimes is pathetic. In nearly five years, the Wall Street regulator has brought just four court cases related to the financial crisis against a total of six individuals, all of whom were relative bit players. Of those, Tourre is the only one to be found liable.

    "Their track [record] of the cases that have gone to trial has not be very good," says Thomas Gorman, a partner at law firm Dorsey and Whitney and a former SEC enforcement official

    And the SEC's actual record is more like 1-in-7. That's because the SEC settled charges against former Bear Stearns hedge fund managers Ralph Cioffi and Matthew Tannin after the two were acquitted in a criminal trial brought by the Department of Justice. A judge signed off on the SEC's settlement only after calling the fine the regulator imposed "chump change." In another instance, the SEC had to do an about-face and ask a judge to drop a case it had brought against Edward Steffelin, who had advised JPMorgan Chase (JPM) on a mortgage bond that went bust. In response, the New York Times wrote that "if Mr. Steffelin is going to emerge as a 'poster child' for anything, it will be as a victim of regulatory overreach."

    And we know there were far more than nine people who made deals during the financial crisis that were less than they seemed. Private investors have brought cases that have uncovered e-mails and other evidence that prove bankers knew they were selling clients garbage, like the one against Morgan Stanley (MS) in which its bankers suggested a deal they were putting together be called "shitbag." Yet, Morgan Stanley had never paid a fine to the SEC related to a mortgage deal. The SEC has recently said it will take a look at some of these private cases to see if there is anything they missed. Good thinking.

    The SEC has brought 55 other financial crisis related cases that were settled before they went to trial, in some instances for big fines. Goldman, for one, paid $550 million. But most of the settlements were with companies, not individuals. And the total amount comes nowhere near to what investors actually lost on Wall Street's crappy mortgage bonds, or the pain suffered by the people who got a mortgage funded by these Wall Street deals that they believed was safe but ended in foreclosure.

    Nevertheless, the SEC was quick to take a victory lap after the Tourre result. Andrew Ceresney, co-director of the SEC's Division of Enforcement, said in a statement, "We will continue to vigorously seek to hold accountable, and bring to trial when necessary, those who commit fraud on Wall Street."

    But it's five years, and it's one. So, you know, hold the champagne.

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