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We Deserve the Truth From Citigroup, Judge Rules

Posted on Nov 28, 2011
Eflon (CC-BY)

A federal judge will not accept the SEC’s settlement with Citigroup for defrauding its customers of more than $700 million in just one of the firm’s lousy investment opportunities.

Judge Jed Rakoff wrote in his decision that the $285 million settlement amounts to “the cost of doing business” for Citigroup, which he called a “recidivist” institution. The judge said the deal was not in the public interest and he took particular objection to the fact that Citigroup would be let off the hook without any admission of guilt. Rakoff also admonished the SEC itself for claiming that the settlement need not serve the public interest and for submitting, after years of investigation, a deal that was “neither fair, nor reasonable, nor adequate, nor in the public interest.”

The judge’s full decision can be read here. Below are two choice excerpts (with formatting removed).  —PZS

Of course, the policy of accepting settlements without any admissions serves various narrow interests of the parties. In this case, for example, Citigroup was able, without admitting anything, to negotiate a settlement that (a) charges it only with negligence, (b) results in a very modest penalty, (c) imposes the kind of injunctive relief that Citigroup (a recidivist) knew that the S.E.C. had not sought to enforce against any financial institution for at least the last 10 years, see SEC Mem. at 23, and (d) imposes relatively inexpensive prophylactic measures for the next three years. In exchange, Citigroup not only settles what it states was a broadranging four-year investigation by the S.E.C. of Citigroup’s mortgage-backed securities offerings, Tr . 27, but also avoid any investors’ relying in any respect on the S.E.C. Cons ent Judgment in seeking return of their losses. If the allegations of the Complaint are true, this is a very good deal for Citigroup; and, even if they are untrue, it is a mild and modest cost of doing business.


Finally, in any case like this that touches on the transparency of financial markets whose gyrations have so depressed our economy and debilitated our lives, there is an overriding public interest in knowing the truth. In much of the world, propaganda reigns, and truth is confined to secretive, fearful whispers. Even in our nation, apologists for suppressing or obscuring the truth may always be found. But the S.E.C., of all agencies, has a duty, inherent in its statutory mission, to see that the truth emerges; and if fails to do so, this Court must not, in the name of deference or convenience, grant judicial enforcement to the agency’s contrivances.

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By alton grimes, December 4, 2011 at 12:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I felt the unmistakable voice of a true patriot coming
through the judges pronouncement.

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By Zephram Cochrane, November 29, 2011 at 4:54 pm Link to this comment

Matt Taibbi has been following this one for awhile. He has a good take on it at

There’s also a video.

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By Jim Yell, November 29, 2011 at 10:47 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A breath of fresh air, but can they make it stick?

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By lasmog, November 29, 2011 at 10:30 am Link to this comment

It sounds like corporations will have to begin offering huge paydays to former judges in order to more completely control the judiciary. You can bet the 1% will not allow this display of judicial integrity to go unchallenged.

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By BrooklynDame, November 29, 2011 at 7:29 am Link to this comment

Thank goodness! A judge who doesn’t appear to be store-bought-and-paid-for by
corporate owners!  Now, if only we can get banking reform to turn into a real
movement…maybe we can get a Glass-Stegall type of reform to bring these ‘too
big to fail’ institutions of malfeasance back in line.

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By DBM, November 29, 2011 at 7:18 am Link to this comment

Rakoff for President of the Free World ...

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By ardee, November 29, 2011 at 3:22 am Link to this comment

Judge Rakoff, a Clinton appointee by the by, has defended the honor of the law and the courts admirably in this case. But one cannot help but wonder if his decision is doomed to be overturned by a higher court.

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By chip, November 29, 2011 at 12:30 am Link to this comment

RIGHT ON, The peoples voice is heard, finally.

Spread the good word folks, You know the MSM won’t.

The word of the day is “Recidivist” (a relapse into crime by a convicted criminal)

Thank You Judge Rakoff

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By amunaor, November 28, 2011 at 11:00 pm Link to this comment

Bless you Judge Rakoff!

Sunlight is ‘always’ the best disinfectant. Let it all hang out!

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By gerard, November 28, 2011 at 6:40 pm Link to this comment

Go, Judge Rakoff!

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By Tesla, November 28, 2011 at 6:09 pm Link to this comment

It seems that not every judge is a stooge for the
Corporatists. A small win for the People.

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By faith, November 28, 2011 at 6:03 pm Link to this comment

Justice Rakoff we need you in California !  Wonderful decision.  Thoughtful and
fairly analyzed and decided.  Yes !  There are some fair judges out there.  Justice
Rakoff has renewed my faith in the judicial system.

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By C, November 28, 2011 at 6:00 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

RIGHT ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I love this guy!

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