Barofsky: Break Up the Banks & Handcuff Bankers
July 15, 2012 • 8:26AM

Neil Barofsky, former Inspector General of the TARP program, gave an interview on Friday, July 13 to Bloomberg TV, in which he called for criminal prosecutions of both the bankers who rigged the Libor rates and the regulators who covered up the crimes. Barofsky zeroed in on Tim Geithner, who was President of the New York Fed from 2005-2008, pointing out that, based on the memos that Geithner sent to the Bank of England in June 2008, it was clear that he knew, in detail, what the Libor rigging was all about. If all he did was to send an email, Barofsky continued, then this is equally a scandal for the regulators. The regulators are complicit, as has already been alleged in England. Clearly referencing Geithner's lack of action, Barofsky emphasized that the regulators allowed criminal activities to continue. "It is a significant act of deception if the regulators were aware and did nothing." Barofsky ran down a string of serious crimes that have been committed in the Libor rigging, including cheating counterparties, and securities fraud. "I want to see indictments," he declared. He warned that banks like JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup, who were both on the Libor rate setting committee, committed outright criminal acts. But the government lacks leverage over these too big to fail institutions, because criminal prosecutions of these banks would bring down the whole system. He warned that this will happen over and over again, until we break up the big banks and put people in handcuffs. "This was a scheme to defraud. This is textbook securities fraud," he concluded.