Monday, August 10, 2009

The Race to the Bottom

Wall Street firms packaged investment pigs. Rating agencies applied the lipstick. Bond insurers happily raked in the cash, while ignoring sins of the former two groups. Finger pointing between the triumvirate degenerated into lawsuits. Reuters reported:

Ambac filed suit against CitiBank and Credit Suisse for losses on Ridgeway Court Funding II

MBIA sued Merrill Lynch, now Bank of America for CDO losses

Ambac is suing JP Morgan Investment Management for over $1 billion in losses in Ballantyne Re PLC
I heard the Carlyle Group's David Rubenstein lament America's litigious society during an Aspen Group panel discussion. The big money boys are happy to have recourse through the courts, when they feel wronged. Take Carlyle's lawsuit against the Russian firm that backed out on buying steelmaker John Maneely.

What happens when the financial big money boys sue one another? This is only the civil side. Will any criminal charges of fraud ever be brought? The wheels of justice grind slowly.