20 August 2008

Cuomo's Probing Eye Turns To BofA, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and the Retail Brokers

They will have to wade through a lot of small fry, red herrings, patsies and stooges before they crack one of the big banking houses, if ever. That was the experience in the investigations following the Crash of 1929 and the first years of the Depression. Get your documentation in order gentlemen, and remember, he who cuts the earliest deal makes the best terms.

Cuomo’s probe looks into three banks By Aline van Duyn in New York
August 21 2008 01:59
The Financial Times

Bank of America, Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs are being investigated by Andrew Cuomo, the New York attorney-general, as part of his investigation into the selling of auction-rate securities.

Already, Wall Street firms have agreed to buy back nearly $50bn of the securities sold to retail investors, in one of the biggest examples of a bail-out of small investors by large financing groups.

Citigroup, JPMorgan, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and UBS have agreed to buy back securities at their full face value, even though much of this debt is now trading at a discount.

Most institutional investors are not covered by the agreements.

As well as underwriters of auction-rate debt, which collapsed in February after Wall Street dealers withdrew their support for the debt sales, Mr Cuomo said he was still investigating the role of brokerages that sold the securities, such as Fidelity, Charles Schwab, TD Ameritrade, E*Trade Financial and Oppenheimer.

A spokesman said the investigation’s attention had also turned to Bank of America, Deutsche and Goldman Sachs....

Mr Cuomo’s office replied on Monday in a letter that his investigation “has already begun to uncover some disturbing facts that seem to belie the innocent picture of downstream brokerages you paint”.

“If downstream brokerages deliberately stuck their heads in the sand but continued to actively market these products to unknowing investors, that will certainly be relevant to our calculus of the firms’ culpability,” the letter said...