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According to the Collins English Dictionary 10th Edition fraud can be defined as: "deceit, trickery, sharp practice, or breach of confidence, perpetrated for profit or to gain some unfair or dishonest advantage".[1] In the broadest sense, a fraud is an intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual; the related adjective is fraudulent. The specific legal definition varies by legal jurisdiction. Fraud is a crime, and also a civil law violation. Defrauding people or entities of money or valuables is a common purpose of fraud, but there have also been fraudulent "discoveries", e.g. in science, to gain prestige rather than immediate monetary gain
*As defined in Wikipedia

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Short-Memory Syndrome and Goldman Sachs's Revolving Door

We will never know exactly how much influence Goldman Sachs alumni have had in contributing to the financial crisis that reached its apex in 2008. So many Goldman Sachs guys took on various government roles that we can easily surmise that the influence wasn't benign.

For example, would the world be different if Robert Rubin had not been Treasury Secretary and advised Clinton in 1998 not to regulate derivatives and if he had not suggested the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act?

Would the world be a better place if Hank Paulson had not been Treasury Secretary in 2007-2008 and had not surrounded himself with a coterie (Stephen Friedman, Josh Bolton, Robert Steele, Neel Kashkari, Kendrick Wilson, Ed Forst, Dan Jester, Steve Shafran and Robert Rubin) of other Goldman Sachs people?

Would the world be different if Hank Paulson had had advisors other than Goldman Sachs and the other Wall Street Banks when he was devising the Big Bailout of the Banks? (See the video below.)

Factor in the influence of lobbying from Goldman Sachs and the huge campaign contributions Goldman Sachs makes to both political parties, and a system has been developed that feeds on itself in an internal loop; hence decisions are made that give clear advantages to the banks over, say, the ordinary citizen of the US or society in general.

It makes sense to have people in governing positions that offer contrasting points of view which could make for better over-all policy. When one organization influences policy world-wide, then we have reason to fear the results. Giving Goldman Sachs so much power to devise policy is "truly scandalous."

And here from Bloomberg is another example of the need for a different point of view:

Goldman's Pariah Status Fades With Broadbent's Bank of England Appointment
by Michael J. Moore and Gonzalo Vina

The Bank of England’s appointment of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) Senior European Economist Ben Broadbent to its Monetary Policy Committee shows governments are again looking to the firm for top decision makers, less than a year after it settled U.S. fraud claims.

Broadbent, who has worked at Goldman Sachs since 2000, will replace Andrew Sentance at the end of May, the Treasury in London said yesterday. He joins a panel that has split four ways on policy for the first time since the central bank’s independence in 1997.

Opposition parties last year pressed U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown to suspend Goldman Sachs from government work after the Securities and Exchange Commission sued the New York-based company in April. Brown said at the time he was shocked by the “moral bankruptcy” described in the complaint.

“I think this was much more unlikely to have happened six or eight months ago,” Steven Kaplan, a professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, said of Broadbent’s appointment. In the intervening months, “the fact that we haven’t seen anything else truly scandalous with them or with any of the other top banks has definitely helped.”

Even the SEC has shown an interest in luring Goldman Sachs’ expertise. In January, it hired Eileen Rominger, who spent 11 years in the firm’s asset-management division, including as global chief investment officer. She now heads the SEC’s division of investment management.

SEC Cases

In July, the firm paid $550 million to settle SEC civil claims that it misled investors in a mortgage-linked investment that was sold in 2007.

In a separate case last week, the agency accused Rajat K. Gupta, a former Goldman Sachs board member, of telling hedge- fund manager Raj Rajaratnam about Warren Buffett’s $5 billion investment in the bank in 2008 before the deal was announced. Gupta and Rajaratnam deny the insider-trading allegations. The firm wasn’t accused of wrongdoing.

Former Goldman Sachs employees hold key policy-setting positions worldwide. New York Federal Reserve Bank President William Dudley is the firm’s former chief U.S. economist. Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney is a former managing director. Bank of Italy Governor Mario Draghi, the current frontrunner to become the next president of the European Central Bank, was vice chairman of the firm’s international arm.

Henry Paulson and Robert Rubin both headed the bank before becoming Treasury secretaries, while other former leaders include Stephen Friedman, who was an adviser to President George W. Bush, and Jon Corzine, who governed New Jersey.

Third on Panel

Broadbent is the third Goldman Sachs employee to join the Monetary Policy Committee. Former U.K. rate-setters David Walton and Sushil Wadhwani had Goldman Sachs on their resumes before joining the central bank. Broadbent also has worked previously at the Treasury and the Bank of England.

“The Chancellor appointed him because he was the outstanding candidate from the field,” said a Treasury spokesman, who declined to be named to comply with U.K. civil- service rules.

Stephen Cohen, a Goldman Sachs spokesman, declined to comment.

“It makes sense for the government to hire the best and the brightest,” said James Angel, a finance professor at Georgetown University’s business school in Washington. The public doesn’t typically hold ill will for long against individual firms, he said. “Most people outside of the financial markets don’t really know the difference between Goldman Sachs, Countrywide and their friendly neighborhood local bank,” he said.

Read the rest of the article here

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See the video here


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