The last mystery of the financial crisis. It's long been suspected that ratings agencies like Moody's and Standard & Poor's helped trigger the meltdown. A new trove of embarrassing documents shows how they did it. by Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone.
"Fundamentally flawed, unreasonable and irrational." In 2006, ABN Amro created a new type of financial instrument, the constant proportion debt obligation (CPDO), and sold a number of them to 15 local councils in Australia. Standard & Poor's rated these CPDOs as AAA. The Federal Court of Australia has now determined that both ABN Amro and S&P are liable for the losses the councils suffered when the value of the CPDOs collapsed during the financial crisis; the councils lost 90 per cent on the deal. S&P's rating of the CPDOs was found to have been "misleading and deceptive". Felix Salmon provides some analysis. [more inside]