18 Aug 2011, 11:57 AM EDT
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The Veil has been shattered..things are on the move
Matt Taibbi of the Rolling Stones:
http://www.cnbc.com/id/44184957 SEC covering criminal behavior
http://bit.ly/nsvuLL SEC covering criminal behavior
AND now here is a document in the Virginia Law and Business review
about our very stock we have been following all these years with no
“public” news and/or outcry because it has been mostly suppressed
CMKM DIAMONDS: THE POSTERCHILD OF MONEY-LAUNDERING
No wonder we are still not paid.
A whistleblower claims that over the past two decades, the agency has destroyed records of thousands of investigations, whitewashing the files of some of the nation’s worst financial criminals
By MATT TAIBBI
AUGUST 17, 2011 8:00 AM ET
Imagine a world in which a man who is repeatedly investigated for a string of serious crimes, but never prosecuted, has his slate wiped clean every time the cops fail to make a case. No more Lifetime channel specials where the murderer is unveiled after police stumble upon past intrigues in some old file – “Hey, chief, didja know this guy had two wives die falling down the stairs?” No more burglary sprees cracked when some sharp cop sees the same name pop up in one too many witness statements. This is a different world, one far friendlier to lawbreakers, where even the suspicion of wrongdoing gets wiped from the record.
That, it now appears, is exactly how the Securities and Exchange Commission has been treating the Wall Street criminals who cratered the global economy a few years back. For the past two decades, according to a whistle-blower at the SEC who recently came forward to Congress, the agency has been systematically destroying records of its preliminary investigations once they are closed. By whitewashing the files of some of the nation’s worst financial criminals, the SEC has kept an entire generation of federal investigators in the dark about past inquiries into insider trading, fraud and market manipulation against companies like Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and AIG. With a few strokes of the keyboard, the evidence gathered during thousands of investigations – “18,000 … including Madoff,” as one high-ranking SEC official put it during a panicked meeting about the destruction – has apparently disappeared forever into the wormhole of history.
Under a deal the SEC worked out with the National Archives and Records Administration, all of the agency’s records – “including case files relating to preliminary investigations” – are supposed to be maintained for at least 25 years. But the SEC, using history-altering practices that for once actually deserve the overused and usually hysterical term “Orwellian,” devised an elaborate and possibly illegal system under which staffers were directed to dispose of the documents from any preliminary inquiry that did not receive approval from senior staff to become a full-blown, formal investigation. Amazingly, the wholesale destruction of the cases – known as MUIs, or “Matters Under Inquiry” – was not something done on the sly, in secret. The enforcement division of the SEC even spelled out the procedure in writing, on the commission’s internal website. “After you have closed a MUI that has not become an investigation,” the site advised staffers, “you should dispose of any documents obtained in connection with the MUI.”
Many of the destroyed files involved companies and individuals who would later play prominent roles in the economic meltdown of 2008. Two MUIs involving con artist Bernie Madoff vanished. So did a 2002 inquiry into financial fraud at Lehman Brothers, as well as a 2005 case of insider trading at the same soon-to-be-bankrupt bank. A 2009 preliminary investigation of insider trading by Goldman Sachs was deleted, along with records for at least three cases involving the infamous hedge fund SAC Capital.
The widespread destruction of records was brought to the attention of Congress in July, when an SEC attorney named Darcy Flynn decided to blow the whistle. According to Flynn, who was responsible for helping to manage the commission’s records, the SEC has been destroying records of preliminary investigations since at least 1993. After he alerted NARA to the problem, Flynn reports, senior staff at the SEC scrambled to hide the commission’s improprieties.
As a federally protected whistle-blower, Flynn is not permitted to speak to the press. But in evidence he presented to the SEC’s inspector general and three congressional committees earlier this summer, the 13-year veteran of the agency paints a startling picture of a federal police force that has effectively been conquered by the financial criminals it is charged with investigating. In at least one case, according to Flynn, investigators at the SEC found their desire to investigate an influential bank thwarted by senior officials in the enforcement division – whose director turned around and accepted a lucrative job from the very same bank they had been prevented from investigating. In another case, the agency farmed out its inquiry to a private law firm – one hired by the company under investigation. The outside firm, unsurprisingly, concluded that no further investigation of its client was necessary. To complete the bureaucratic laundering process, Flynn says, the SEC dropped the case and destroyed the files.
Much has been made in recent months of the government’s glaring failure to police Wall Street; to date, federal and state prosecutors have yet to put a single senior Wall Street executive behind bars for any of the many well-documented crimes related to the financial crisis. Indeed, Flynn’s accusations dovetail with a recent series of damaging critiques of the SEC made by reporters, watchdog groups and members of Congress, all of which seem to indicate that top federal regulators spend more time lunching, schmoozing and job-interviewing with Wall Street crooks than they do catching them. As one former SEC staffer describes it, the agency is now filled with so many Wall Street hotshots from oft-investigated banks that it has been “infected with the Goldman mindset from within.”
The destruction of records by the SEC, as outlined by Flynn, is something far more than an administrative accident or bureaucratic f*ck-up. It’s a symptom of the agency’s terminal brain damage. Somewhere along the line, those at the SEC responsible for policing America’s banks fell and hit their head on a big pile of Wall Street’s money – a blow from which the agency has never recovered. “From what I’ve seen, it looks as if the SEC might have sanctioned some level of case-related document destruction,” says Sen. Chuck Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, whose staff has interviewed Flynn. “It doesn’t make sense that an agency responsible for investigations would want to get rid of potential evidence. If these charges are true, the agency needs to explain why it destroyed documents, how many documents it destroyed over what time frame and to what extent its actions were consistent with the law.”
SEC Accused of Destroying Files
BY MICHAEL ROTHFELD AND JENNY STRASBURG
An employee at the Securities and Exchange Commission has accused the regulatory agency of destroying at least 9,000 documents relating to inquiries of Wall Street banks and hedge funds.
Documents that were destroyed related to corporate giants including Goldman Sachs Group, Deutsche Bank, Lehman Brothers, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, convicted fraud operator Bernard Madoff and hedge fund SAC Capital Advisors, according to a letter from the employee’s attorney released Wednesday by Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R., Iowa).
Darcy Flynn, an attorney at the SEC, says the agency followed a policy of systematically destroying documents after closing …Destroying Files
S.E.C. Files Were Illegally Destroyed, Lawyer Says
By EDWARD WYATT
Published: August 17, 2011
WASHINGTON — An enforcement lawyer at the Securities and Exchange Commission says that the agency illegally destroyed files and documents related to thousands of early-stage investigations over the last 20 years, according to information released Wednesday by Congressional investigators.
The destroyed files comprise records of at least 9,000 preliminary inquiries into matters involving notorious individuals like Bernard L. Madoff, as well as several major Wall Street firms that later were the subject of scrutiny after the 2008 financial crisis, including Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, Citigroup and Bank of America.
The S.E.C. is the very agency that is charged with making sure that Wall Street firms retain records of their own activities, and has brought numerous enforcement cases against firms for failing to do so.
The agency’s records were routinely destroyed under an S.E.C. policy, since changed, that called for the disposal of records of a preliminary inquiry that was closed if it did not get upgraded to a formal investigation, according to Congressional records and people involved in inquiries into the matter. The agency believes that both the original policy and the new rules comply with federal document-retention laws.
John Nester, an S.E.C. spokesman, said that while the agency was not required to retain all documents, it changed its policy last year regarding destruction of files for “matters under investigation,” the category of initial inquiry by the S.E.C.’s enforcement division that is the subject of the current scrutiny.
Changes were made to the S.E.C. policy after questions about the document destruction were raised in early 2010 by Darcy Flynn. Mr. Flynn, an employee of the S.E.C.’s enforcement division for 13 years, began a new job in January 2010 helping to manage the disposition of records for the division. Mr. Flynn, who continues to work at the S.E.C., has sought protection under federal whistle-blower laws.
The document disposal, which was first reported by Rolling Stone magazine on Wednesday, is the subject of inquiries by the Senate Judiciary Committee; the National Archives and Records Administration, which oversees laws governing federal agency records; and the inspector general of the S.E.C., according to the records and to people involved in the investigations.
In addition to whether the document disposal violated federal laws about government records, officials are concerned that the S.E.C. policy might have hindered later investigations into the same people or companies or covered up wrongdoing.
“These records may contain critical information that could be extremely useful in piecing together complex cases, even if not immediately pursued,” Senator Charles E. Grassley, an Iowa Republican who is the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote in a letter to the S.E.C. on Wednesday.
Mr. Nester declined to comment on Mr. Grassley’s letter or on a letter to Mr. Grassley from a lawyer for Mr. Flynn that laid out the allegations in detail.
H. David Kotz, the S.E.C. inspector general, said that he was investigating the issue and hoped to complete a report by the end of September. A spokesman for the National Archives did not respond to requests for comment late Wednesday afternoon.
The National Archives wrote to the S.E.C. last year, saying that it “appears that there has been an unauthorized disposal of federal records,” and asked for further information, according to Mr. Flynn’s chronology.
Mr. Flynn said that S.E.C. officials discussed whether to lie about the document destruction because they might be open to criminal liability. Unlawful and willful destruction of federal records is punishable by up to three years in prison.
The S.E.C. replied to the National Archives in a letter, saying that it was “not aware of any specific instances of the destruction of records” that should have been retained. It added that it “cannot say with certainty that no such documents have been destroyed over the past seventeen years.”
The letter from Mr. Flynn’s lawyer said that the old document destruction policy gave S.E.C. officials assurance that if they closed an inquiry without upgrading it to a formal investigation, there would be no record of their actions.
It is common for S.E.C. employees to leave the agency for the private sector and then begin representing clients before the agency. Mr. Flynn contends that the practice increases the likelihood that S.E.C. investigators could do undetected favors for former colleagues and their clients by quashing investigations.
Whether that revolving door led to the closing of an investigation in 2001 involving Deutsche Bank and the destruction of the files is part of the investigation by the S.E.C.’s inspector general.
A GOOD FORUM
Taibbi: SEC corruption and Wall St cover up exposed by whistleblower, these crooks should go to jail