Best of the Week
Most Popular
1.Is the Stocks Bull Market Over? Dow Trend Forecast into End January 2015 - Nadeem_Walayat
2.Gold and Silver Stocks Apocalypse Now, Bear Market Review - Rambus_Chartology
3.NHS Baldrick Plan to Spread Ebola Across UK - Sheffield, Newcastle, Liverpool, London Hospitals - Nadeem_Walayat
4.Ebola Terror Threat Suicide Bio-Weapons Threatens Multiple 9/11's, Global Plague - Nadeem_Walayat
5.Second-Richest Man Says Mortgages Now a "No Brainer" - Dr. Steve Sjuggerud
6.Gold And Silver Still No End In Sight - Michael_Noonan
7.NHS Baldrick Plan to Spread Ebola Across UK - Sheffield, Newcastle, Liverpool, London Hospitals - Nadeem_Walayat
8.The Gold Bug is Set to Bite Back - EWI
9.How Alibaba Could Capitalize on the EBay-PayPal Split - Frank_Holmes
10.The Consequences of the Economic Peace - John_Mauldin
Last 5 days
Gold And Silver Price - Respect The Trend But Prepare For A Reversal - 25th Oct 14
Ebola Has Nothing To Do With The Stock Market - 25th Oct 14
The Gallery of Crowd Behavior: Goodbye Stock Market All Time Highs - 25th Oct 14
Japanese Style Deflation Coming? Where? Fed Falling Behind the Curve? Which Way? - 25th Oct 14
Gold Price Rebounds but Gold Miners Struggle - 25th Oct 14
Stock Market Buy the Dip or Sell the Rally - 25th Oct 14
Get Ready for “Stupid Cheap” Stock Prices - 25th Oct 14
The Trend Every Nation on Earth Is Pouring Money Into - 25th Oct 14 - Keith Fitz-Gerald
Bitcoin Price Decline Stopped, Possibly Temporarily - 25th Oct 14
Bullish Silver Stealth Buying - 24th Oct 14
Blood in the Streets to Create the Gold Stocks Investor Opportunity of the Decade - 24th Oct 14
Swiss ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ Gold Initiative Campaigns Compete at Launches in Bern - 24th Oct 14
War And The Law Of Unintended Consequences - 24th Oct 14
Tesco Meltdown Debt Default Risk Could Trigger a Financial Crisis in Early 2015 - 24th Oct 14
Saudi Move to Cut Oil Prices Is Now Russia's Biggest Economic Threat - 24th Oct 14
US Stock Market Top Is Now In Sight - 24th Oct 14
New Profit Points in the Shifting Balance of Power, Welcome to Saudi America - 24th Oct 14
QE Failure & Folly Of Paper Mache, Treasury Bond Integrated Lifeline Patches - 24th Oct 14
U.S. Economy Faltering Momentum, Debt and Asset Bubbles - 23rd Oct 14
Annuities - Afraid Your Money Will Vanish before You Do? - 23rd Oct 14
What Debt Deleveraging? - 23rd Oct 14
How to Profit from Massive Spin-Offs with Just One Play - 23rd Oct 14
Evaluating Ebola as a Biological Weapon - 23rd Oct 14
Euro, USD, Gold and Stocks According to Chartology - 23rd Oct 14
Why You Should Always Be Invested in the Stock Market (Even Now) - 23rd Oct 14
Five U.S. Housing Market Warning Signs Point to Real Estate Market Downturn - 23rd Oct 14
The Better Short: Gold or Silver? - 23rd Oct 14
Focus on Graphite Companies with Green Energy and Technology Strategies - 22nd Oct 14
Crude Oil Price Hitting Bottom - 22nd Oct 14
Evidence of Another Even More Sweeping U.S. Housing Market Bust Already Starting to Appear - 22nd Oct 14
Gold Or Crushing Paper Debt Stocks Crash? - 22nd Oct 14
India Gold Demand Surges 450% and Bank of Russia Demand At 15 Year High - 22nd Oct 14
Bitcoin Stock Exchange Could Be "More Valuable than Alibaba" - 22nd Oct 14
Currency War - How to Profit from a Stronger U.S. Dollar - 22nd Oct 14
Banks Hold Treasuries and Make Loans- 22nd Oct 14
Gold and Silver Timing is Everything - 22nd Oct 14
Don't Get Ruined by These 10 Popular Investment Myths (Part VII) - 22nd Oct 14
Follow the Baby Boom to Biotech Stock Profits - 22nd Oct 14
Copper, Nickel and Zinc Won't Be Cheap for Long - 22nd Oct 14
How Will We Know That the Gold & Silver Price Bottom Is In? - 21st Oct 14
Is Gold as Dead as Florida Hurricanes? - 21st Oct 14
First Swiss Gold Poll Shows Pro-Gold Side In Lead At 45% - 21st Oct 14
The Similarities Between Germany and China - 21st Oct 14
The REAL Reason Why the Stock Market Turned Down - 21st Oct 14
Petrobras is a 'Scheme, Not a Stock' - 21st Oct 14
Stocks Bear Market Indicator Is Off the Mark - 20th Oct 14
Stock Market Ideal Turning Point is at Hand - 20th Oct 14
Investors Quit Complaining, The Environment is Perfect Right Now - 20th Oct 14
Ebola Armageddon Could Trigger a Rebirth in Gold and Silver Prices - 20th Oct 14
Gold vs Euro Risk Due To Possible Return of Italian Lira - Drachmas, Escudos, Pesetas and Punts? - 20th Oct 14
Stocks Rebounded Following Recent Sell-Off, But Will It Last? - 20th Oct 14
U.S. Responsible for West Africa Ebola Outbreak Says Liberian Scientist - 20th Oct 14
Stock Market Intermediate B Wave has Started - 20th Oct 14
Gold Stocks Analysis – FNV, CG, NCM, SBM - 19th Oct 14
Stock Market Primary IV Wave Counter Trend Rally - 19th Oct 14
Gold And Silver - Financial World: House Of Cards Built On Sand - 18th Oct 14
Anatomy of a Stock Market Sell-Off - 18th Oct 14
Why OPEC Has Declared an Oil War on Russia - 18th Oct 14
Gold and Silver Extreme Shorting Peaks - 18th Oct 14
Bitcoin Price Fall to $350? - 18th Oct 14
Tesco Supermarket Crisis Worse To Come as Customers Vanish! - 18th Oct 14

Free Instant Analysis

Free Instant Technical Analysis


Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Stocks Epic Bear Market

Is Crony Capitalism Wrong?

Politics / Credit Crisis Bailouts Dec 03, 2011 - 01:34 PM GMT

By: Janet_Tavakoli

Politics

n November 29, 2011, Bloomberg Magazine’s Richard Teitelbaum published an article revealing a secret meeting on July 21, 2008, with then Secretary of the Treasury and former Goldman Sachs CEO Hank Paulson and around a dozen hedge-fund managers and Wall Street executives. 

Five of the hedge fund managers were former Goldman Sachs employees.  The meeting was held at the offices of the founder of hedge fund Eton Park Capital Management, Eric Mindich, a former 15-year employee of Goldman Sachs who rose to be the senior strategy officer of Goldman’s Executive Office.  He is also current Chair of the Asset Managers’ Committee of the President’s Working Group on Capital Markets.


Then Secretary Paulson asked the hedge fund managers what the market might think if he placed mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into conservatorship, a move that would have wiped out value for the shareholders and possibly wiped out value for subordinated debt holders. 

According to the article, one hedge fund manager had a short position in these stocks when he walked into the meeting.  He was shocked that Secretary Paulson blabbed specifics, and the hedge fund managers therefore believed the Treasury Department would implement the plan.  Seven weeks later, it did.  

The hedge fund manager called his lawyer at a break in the meeting, and his lawyer told him Paulson had divulged non-public material information.  His lawyer advised him to stop trading in the shares of these companies immediately.  Ironically, that meant the hedge fund manager could not cover his short positions, so he profited by riding the value of the shares all the way down to the bottom.  If he hadn’t been at the meeting, and if he had any doubts, he might have covered his short position earlier and made less money.  One will never know, because Secretary Paulson tied the hedge fund manager’s hands.

But the more interesting implication is for the other managers in attendance.  If they didn’t already have a short position in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, they now had non-public material information that would allow them to almost certainly profit mightily by initiating such a trade.  They could even be more confident in shorting other financial institutions that would likely take a shellacking.

Richard Teitelbaum quoted me: “What is this but crony capitalism?  Most people have had their fill of it.”

Meanwhile, then Secretary Paulson told the public a different story than he told the meeting attendees.  According to Bloomberg’s research, earlier that day, Paulson told the New York Times that the Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency were inspecting Fannie and Freddie’s books and he expected the result of this would inspire confidence.  The Times’s article appeared the following day.  Any investor in the shares of Fannie and Freddie would be less likely to sell their shares in the face of this reassuring message.

There is no way of knowing whether the hedge fund managers initiated new trades as a result of this meeting, but the key issue is that then Secretary of the Treasury Paulson communicated non-public material information that could financially benefit the recipients at the public’s expense.

Apparent Damage Control: That’s How They Roll

On Wednesday, November 30, 2011, I got a call from a staffer for Congressman Michael Quigley (D., IL.).  Congressman Quigley represents Illinois’s 5th district.  He replaced Rahm Emanuel, the current Mayor of Chicago, in a special election after Rahm resigned to become White House Chief of Staff.  Rod Blagojevich preceded Rahm Emanuel.  Blagojevich was elected Governor in 2002 and was subsequently impeached for corruption and misconduct and convicted of one count of lying to the FBI.  He awaits sentencing.

Congressman Quigley’s staffer called because he saw my quote in the Bloomberg article.  He claimed he was looking for clarification of my position, and I stated the article accurately reflected my viewpoint.  But the staffer seemed to me to defend the meeting. 

The staffer said this kind of meeting “happens all the time.”  I retorted: “Really?  What’s the excuse?” 

He then claimed he was just trying to play “devil’s advocate.”  But don’t we have a surplus of those? 

The staffer claimed that people want to discuss regulations with people who might be affected.  I responded that this excuse is ludicrous.  Then Secretary of the Treasury Paulson discussed material non-public information about the restructuring of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with people who were in a position to profit at the expense of the public.  I cut the phone call short at that point. 

I would like to give my local politician the benefit of the doubt that a staffer wasn’t acting as an errand boy trying to send a message, but that phone call didn’t give me much to work with.   It seems that whether it’s Henry Paulson working for a Republican administration or a Democratic errand boy doing apparent damage control, it looks as if we’re steeped in bi-partisan sleaze.  If the staffer was merely playing the fool, then U.S. citizens needn’t suffer them gladly.

By Janet Tavakoli

web site: www.tavakolistructuredfinance.com

Janet Tavakoli is the president of Tavakoli Structured Finance, a Chicago-based firm that provides consulting to financial institutions and institutional investors. Ms. Tavakoli has more than 20 years of experience in senior investment banking positions, trading, structuring and marketing structured financial products. She is a former adjunct associate professor of derivatives at the University of Chicago's Graduate School of Business. Author of: Credit Derivatives & Synthetic Structures (1998, 2001), Collateralized Debt Obligations & Structured Finance (2003), Structured Finance & Collateralized Debt Obligations (John Wiley & Sons, September 2008). Tavakoli’s book on the causes of the global financial meltdown and how to fix it is: Dear Mr. Buffett: What an Investor Learns 1,269 Miles from Wall Street (Wiley, 2009).

© 2011 Copyright Janet Tavakoli- All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.


© 2005-2014 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

Free Report - Financial Markets 2014