In 1969 I was lucky enough to spend half a year at the University of California at Berkeley. It was the height of the Vietnam war, the civil rights movement and general student unrest shaking the foundations of the complacent American political system. The Berkeley campus was gassed from helicopters to quell protests. At the other end of the country Woodstock was the defining event.
Against the prevailing mood on campus my very best friend had an almost religious awakening when he got a job at the New York investment bank Morgan Stanley. While every other student only spoke contemptuously of “banksters” he was praising the virtues of high finance and his employer and put them on a pedestal somewhere between Jesus and God.
I was reminded of this when today I a came across the story of Alayne Fleischmann : The women who cost JP Morgan Chase (another sterling New York bank) a cool US$9 billion.
Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone magazine describes her as the central witness in one of the biggest cases of white-collar crime in American history, possessing secrets that JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon late last year paid $9 billion to keep the public from hearing.
And more : Morgan Chase and the Justice Department took pains to silence her.
She was blocked at every turn: by asleep-on-the-job regulators like the Securities and Exchange Commission, by a court system that allowed Chase to use its billions to bury her evidence, and, finally, by officials like outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder, the chief architect of the crazily elaborate government policy of surrender, secrecy and cover-up. “Every time I had a chance to talk, something always got in the way,” Fleischmann says.
Here are the highlighted quotes from the Rolling Stone article :
“I could lose everything. But if we don’t start speaking up, we’re going to get the biggest financial cover-up in history.”
“The ordinary citizen who is the target of a government investigation cannot pick up the phone, call the prosecutor and have his case dropped. But Dimon did just that.”
“The assumption they make is that I won’t blow up my life to do it. But they’re wrong about that.”
Thank you Alayne for your courage shining some light on the criminality of the (American) banking system and the corruption of the (American) justice system.
Which brings me back to the third best friend from my Berkeley days, one of the top lawyers in Hamburg. When we discussed what we were witnessing since 2008, the almost collapse of the financial system and the wealth destruction of trillions of dollars, he suggested the best way to deal with it would be through the criminal justice system.
I will believe you, my dear friend, as soon as we see the first responsible top banksters not get away with it but behind bars.