6 Jan 2014

J.P. Morgan to pay $2 billion over Madoff case

Not sure if one should cry or laugh when reading headlines such as this one. How did the parties to this shameful deal arrive at the number? Did it get picked out of thin air? Is there any real proof of culpability? Since when is it a crime to conduct one's business prudently? If the regulators did not spot the Madoff fraud have they received any punishment? And why is JP Morgan management agreeing to this 'settlement' (which leaves the question where the money goes, is it just used to plug the hole in the government's budget?)

P.S.: it is gratifying to read that a 'portion' of the $2 billion penalty will be earmarked for victims of the Madoff fraud. How generous, and the state appropriates the majority of the loot for itself. Why don't the regulators make a contribution to the victims as well? I guess the only reason why regulators do not throw the book at specific JP Morgan executives is that they want to avoid questions over why they are spared jail after such a major cock-up as the failure to detect the Madoff fraud in good time.

Nothing can surprise me with respect to the ever-increasing reach that the 'authorities' give the interpretation of the ill-fated and useless money laundering laws. Soon the £5 loan that a schoolchild receives from a granny will have to be reported as 'suspicious' by anyone who has knowledge of it, for who but the 'regulators' can (with hindsight) determine what is suspicious or not? Already anyone trying to open a bank account (or even access a long-forgotten one) is basically treated as a potential criminal these days. And all this wasteful effort is expended in order to undo the results of bad laws imposed by an undemocratic process.