Financial Regulatory Forum

SEC’s “re-markable” action against Credit Suisse traders

By Thomson Reuters Accelus – Staff

NEW YORK, Feb.10 (Business Law Currents) - A new SEC complaint against former Credit Suisse (CS) employees shines a harsh light on an underappreciated aspect of the financial crisis: mark-to-market manipulation. Charging four traders and investment bankers with violating securities laws, the commission’s civil action (“the complaint”) alleges a “colossal fraud” to misstate the value of bonds held in the bank’s portfolio. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara of the Southern District of New York also filed a criminal indictment against CS investment banker David Higgs, a managing director of the bank’s London office. Bharara likewise filed a criminal information against CS trader Salmaan Siddiqui, who held the title of vice president.

Unlike more high-profile litigation revolving around the residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) and collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), this particular case is noteworthy in that it attacks the accounting behind publicly filed documents, rather than allegations of material misrepresentations in the sales of securities. (more…)

BREAKINGVIEWS-Sarkozy’s anti-market rhetoric misconceived

– The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own –

By Hugo Dixon

DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan 28 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Nicolas Sarkozy’s anti-market rhetoric is misconceived. The French president used his address in Davos to blast the untrammelled free market. While the economic crisis has certainly exposed deficiencies in financial capitalism, this is largely because market forces were too weak rather than too strong.

Sarko had some easy targets. Top of the list were bankers. Their “heads-I-win, tails-you-lose” pay practices are an outrage. But these are not the result of the free market operating properly. They are the result of governments and central banks rushing in and bailing the industry out when it runs into trouble.

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