2010年4月20日星期二

真相;金融危機不是一個錯誤 - 它是一個陰謀

現在我們知道真相;金融危機不是一個錯誤 - 它是一個陰謀
Now we know the truth. The financial meltdown wasn't a mistake – it was a con

Hiding behind the complexities of our financial system, banks and other institutions are being accused of fraud and deception, with Goldman Sachs just the latest in the spotlight. This has become the most pressing election issue of all
在我們金融體系的複雜性背後躲藏,銀行和其它機構正在被控欺詐和欺騙,高盛只是聚光燈最新的,這已成為所有中的最緊迫選舉議題

Will Hutton The Observer,
Sunday 18 April 2010

Goldman Sachs was in the spotlight last November when demonstrators protested outside its Washington offices against executive bonuses. Photograph: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
高盛去年11月是在聚光燈下,當示威者在它的華盛頓辦事處外抗議針對其行政花紅。
攝影:安德魯哈雷爾 /彭博通過格蒂圖片

The global financial crisis, it is now clear, was caused not just by the bankers' colossal mismanagement. No, it was due also to the new financial complexity offering up the opportunity for widespread, systemic fraud. Friday's announcement that the world's most famous investment bank, Goldman Sachs, is to face civil charges for fraud brought by the American regulator is but the latest of a series of investigations that have been launched, arrests made and charges made against financial institutions around the world. Big Finance in the 21st century turns out to have been Big Fraud. Yet Britain, centre of the world financial system, has not yet levelled charges against any bank; all that we've seen is the allegation of a high-level insider dealing ring which, embarrassingly, involves a banker advising the government. We have to live with the fiction that our banks and bankers are whiter than white, and any attempt to investigate them and their institutions will lead to a mass exodus to the mountains of Switzerland. The politicians of the Labour and Tory party alike are Bambis amid the wolves.
全球金融危機現在已很清楚,是不衹是由銀行家的龐大管理不善所致,不,它亦是由於新的金融複雜性提供了機會給廣泛性、系統性欺詐。週五的宣布,世界上最出名的投資銀行高盛,是要面對民事的欺詐指控,由美國的監管機構所帶出;但最近一系列的調查已經展開,作出逮捕和指控針對環球的金融機構。大金融在21世紀已出現為大騙局,然而英國,世界金融體系的中心,還沒有對準任何銀行控訴;所有我們已看到的是那一個高層次的內幕交易圈的指控,尷尬地,涉及一位向政府提供意見的銀行家。我們要與小說一起生活,我們的銀行和銀行家比白色更白,和任何調查他們的企圖和他們的機構將領導大規模的出埃及記往瑞士的山脈,工黨和保守黨的政客們都相似披着羊皮的狼。
Just consider the roll call beyond Goldman Sachs. In Ireland Sean FitzPatrick, the ex-chair of the Anglo Irish bank was arrested last month and questioned over alleged fraud. In Iceland last week a dossier assembled by its parliament on the Icelandic banks – huge lenders in Britain – was handed to its public prosecution service. A court-appointed examiner found that collapsed investment bank Lehman knowingly manipulated its balance sheet to make it look stronger than it was – accounts originally audited by the British firm Ernst and Young and given the legal green light by the British firm Linklaters. In Switzerland UBS has been defending itself from the US's Inland Revenue Service for allegedly running 17,000 offshore accounts to evade tax. Be sure there are more revelations to come – except in saintly Britain.
只考慮超越高盛的點名,在在愛爾蘭西恩帕特里克,英愛銀行的前主席上月被逮捕,並為涉嫌欺詐被質問;上週在冰島,一個有關冰島銀行的檔案被它的議會收集 - 在英國的巨額貸款人 - 交給它的公共檢控服務,一位由法庭委任的審查員發現,崩潰的投資銀行雷曼故意玩弄它的資產負債表,使它看起來比它原本更強 - 帳戶最初經由英國公司安永會計師事務所審計,和由英國公司利達開予綠燈。在瑞士瑞銀一直在為自己辨護,向美國的本土稅務局有關據稱管治一萬七千個 離岸逃稅戶口。要肯定會有更多的揭示來到 - 除了在聖潔的英國。
Beneath the complexity, the charges are all rooted in the same phenomenon – deception. Somebody, somewhere, was knowingly fooled by banks and bankers – sometimes governments over tax, sometimes regulators and investors over the probity of balance sheets and profits and sometimes, as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) says in Goldman's case, by creating a scheme to enrich one favoured investor at the expense of others – including, via RBS, the British taxpayer. Along the way there is a long list of so-called "entrepreneurs" and "innovators" who were offered loans that should never have been made. Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman's CEO, remarked only semi-ironically that his bank was doing God's work. He must wake up every day bitterly regretting the words ever emerged from his mouth.

For the Goldmans case is in some ways the most damaging. The Icelandic banks, Anglo Irish bank and Lehman were all involved in opaque deals and rank bad lending decisions – but Goldman allegedly went one step further, according to the SEC actively creating a financial instrument that transferred wealth to one favoured client from others less favoured. If the Securities and Exchange Commission's case is proved – and it is aggressively rebutted by Goldman – the charge is that Goldman's vice-president Fabrice Tourre created a dud financial instrument packed with valueless sub- prime mortgages at the instruction of hedge fund client Paulson, sold it to investors knowing it was valueless, and then allowed Paulson to profit from the dud financial instrument. Goldman says the buyers were "among the most sophisticated mortgage investors" in the world. But this is a used car salesman flogging a broken car he's got from some wide-boy pal to some driver who can't get access to the log-book. Except it was lionised as financial innovation.

The investors who bought the collateralised debt obligation (CDO) were not complete innocents. They had asked for the bond to be validated by an independent expert into residential mortgage-backed securities – a company called ACA management. ACA gave the bond the thumbs-up on the understanding from Fabrice Tourre that the hedge fund Paulson were investing in it. But the SEC says Tourre misled them, a pivotal claim that Goldman denies. The reality was that Paulson was frantically buying credit default swaps in the CDO that would go up in price the more valueless it became – a trade that would make more than $1 billion. Worse, Paulson had identified some of the dud sub-prime mortgages that he wanted Tourre to put into the CDO. If the SEC case is true, this was a scam – nothing more, nothing less.

Tourre could see what was coming. In one email in January 2007 he wrote: "More and more leverage in the system. The whole building is about to collapse anytime now… only potential survivor, the fabulous Fab[rice Tourre] .. standing in the middle of all these complex highly leveraged exotic trades he created without necessarily understanding all of the implications of those monstrosities". Fabulous Fab, like his boss, will not be feeling very fab today.

The cases not only have a lot in common – using financial complexity allegedly to deceive and then using so-called independent experts to validate the deception (lawyers, accountants, credit rating agencies, "portfolio selection agents," etc etc ) – but they also show how interconnected the financial system is. In Iceland Citigroup and Deutsche Bank covered the margin calls of distressed Icelandic business borrowers, deepening the crisis. Lehman uses the lightly regulated London markets and two independent British experts to validate that their "Repo 105s" were "genuine" trades and not their own in-house liability. The American authorities pursued a Swiss bank over aiding and abetting US nationals to evade tax.

Bankers will complain these cases all involve one or two misguided individuals, but that most banking is above board and was just the victim of irrational exuberance, misguided belief in free market economics and faulty risk management techniques. Obviously that is true – but, sadly, there is much more to the crisis. Andrew Haldane, executive director of the Bank of England, highlights the remarkable reduction in the risk weighting of bank assets between 1997 and 2007. Put simply, Europe's and the US's large banks exploited the weak international agreement on bank capital requirements in the so-called Basel agreement in 2004 to reclassify the risk of their loans and trading instruments. They did not just reduce the risk by 5 or 10%. Breathtakingly, they claimed their new risk management techniques were so wonderful that the riskiness of their assets was up to half of what it had been – despite property and share prices cresting to new all-time highs.

Brutally, the banks knowingly gamed the system to grow their balance sheets ever faster and with even less capital underpinning them in the full knowledge that everything rested on the bogus claim that their lending was now much less risky. That was not all they were doing. As Michael Lewis describes in The Big Short, credit default swaps had been deliberately created as an asset class by the big investment banks to allow hedge funds to speculate against collateralised debt obligations. The banks were gaming the regulators and investors alike – and they knew full well what they were doing. Simon Johnson's 13 Bankers shows how the major American banks deployed vast political lobbying power and money to create the relaxed regulatory environment in which all this could take place. In Britain no money changed hands. Gordon Brown offered light-touch regulation for free – egged on by the Tories, who wanted to go further.

This was the context in which Goldman's Fabulous Fab created the disputed CDOs, Sean FitzPatrick allegedly moved loans between banks and Lehman created its Repo 105s along with the entire "debt mule" structure revealed this weekend of inter-related companies to shuffle debt around its empire. London and New York had become the centre of an international financial system in which the purpose of banking became making money from money – and where the complexity of the "innovations" allowed extensive fraud and deception.

Now it has all collapsed, to be bailed out by western taxpayers. The banks are resisting reform – and want to cling on to the business practices and business model that has so appallingly failed. It is obvious why: it makes them very rich. The politicians tread carefully, only proposing what the bankers say is congruent with their definition of what banking should be. Labour and Tories alike are united in opposing improved EU regulation of hedge funds, buying the propaganda those operations had nothing to do with the crisis. Perhaps Paulson's trades at Goldman, and the hedge funds' appetite for speculating in credit default swaps, may disabuse them.

It is time to reframe the question. Banks and financial institutions should do what economy and society want them to do – support enterprise, direct credit to where it is needed and be part of the system that generates investment and innovation. Andrew Haldane – and the governor of the Bank of England – are right. We need to break up our banks, limit their capacity to speculate and bring them back to earth. Britain should also launch an official investigation into what went wrong – and hand the findings to the Serious Fraud Office. This needs to become this election campaign's number one issue – not one which either a compromised Labour party or a temporising Conservative party will relish. The Lib Dems, the fiercest critics of the banks, have begun to get very lucky.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/apr/18/goldman-sachs-regulators-civil-charges

高盛獎勵30-50億英鎊花紅 ...正當它面對欺詐調查
Goldman Sachs to award £3.5bn in bonuses... as it faces fraud probe

By Mail Foreign Service
Last updated at 4:00 PM on 19th April 2010
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1266984/Goldman-Sachs-fraud-charges-herald-beginning-years-legal-action.html

繼美國之後 英金融監管機構調查高盛案
(法新社)2010年4月20日 星期二 22:35
(法新社倫敦 20日電) 繼美國 証券管理委員會(SEC)上週指控華爾街投資巨擘高盛集團(GoldmanSachs)涉嫌詐欺後,英國 金融監管當局今天也對高盛展開正式調查。

英國金融監理署(Financial Services Authority, FSA)表示,經過初步調查,FSA決定就最近美國證券管理委員會(SEC)的有關指控,對高盛展開正式調查。

在高盛公布第一季財報的同一天,FSA發表簡短聲明表示,FSA將會就該案與美國SEC保持密切聯繫。

高盛則回應表示,將會配合英國的調查。稍早,對美國指控涉嫌詐欺一事,高盛駁斥是「無稽之談」。

高盛在一封寄給法新社的電子郵件中說:「我們認為SEC的指控,在法律和事實上完全沒有根據,我們期待與FSA合作。」

SEC上週提起民事訴訟,指控高盛發售衍生性金融商品涉嫌詐欺。

在FSA作出上述聲明數小時後,四面楚歌的高盛公布財報指出,第一季獲利達34.6億美元 (25.6億歐元)。

就在FSA宣布展開調查的前幾天,英國首相布朗(Gordon Brown)曾抨擊高盛「道德破產」。(譯者:中央社郭傳信)
http://hk.news.yahoo.com/article/100420/8/hlke.html

高盛遭欺詐指控 美政府對金融衍生品“出手”?

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