Wall Street's leaders have utterly escaped jail. "There have been no arrests of senior Wall Street executives." Frontline examines why the United States federal government didn't go after the financial titans. (via)
One way to measure corporate fraud is look at reported numbers and see if they follow Benford's law - number sets that are manipulated usually deviate from Benford's law. A recent analysis of all public companies over the past 50 years has shown a steady upward deviation, strongly suggesting there is more corporate fraud now than ever before (peaked in 2008). [more inside]
Is the SEC Covering Up Wall Street Crimes? "A whistleblower claims that over the past two decades, the agency has destroyed records of thousands of investigations, whitewashing the files of some of the nation's worst financial criminals."
At the height of the 2008 banking crisis, Antonio Maria Costa, then head of the United Nations office on drugs and crime, said he had evidence to suggest the proceeds from drugs and crime were "the only liquid investment capital" available to banks on the brink of collapse. "Inter-bank loans were funded by money that originated from the drugs trade," he said. "There were signs that some banks were rescued that way." How a big US bank laundered billions from Mexico's murderous drug gangs [more inside]
The New York Times published on Sunday a very favorable report on Ken Lay. In it, they argue that he was, at least in part, wrongly chastised for his role in the Enron affair. Apparently, we are to believe that the CEO didn't know what was going on inside the company he ran. After news of the report appeared in numerous U.S. media earlier this week, the BBC today counterattacks brutally (although perhaps not intentionally), describing some of the most ruthless Enron practices - like placing the combined total salary of the top 200 executives salary at one and a half times the company's total earnings (Lay's went from 15m to 164 mil in that period). My question is simple: just what is going on here?
Accounting scandals aren't the only kind of corporate crime, maybe the Justice Department should talk to this guy.
You've got Jail is a light hearted, easy summer reading and informative article which explodes the myth that malfeasing CEOs get sent to "Club Fed", a prison so minimum in insecurity that its really like an enforced vacation in the country rather than the more typical round of incarceration. Required reading for the Skillings, Rigas, Taubmens and every college student considering an MBA. (So is the MeFi fascination with Prison life an idle one or am I keeping the wrong company?)
"The bigger the binge, the longer and more severe the hangover." A short history of accounting scandals and fraudulent bankruptcies that follow bubble economies.
Enron May Spark a Revolt of the Professionals. James K. Galbraith suggests that the managerial class has had enough.
"Enrongate" in a nutshell. Our own Oliver Willis has compiled a very thorough catalogue of clips from the Enron scandal, dating all the way back to April 2000. If you haven't been following all along, it's a great resource to catch up.