Good morning

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The headlines:

  1. Rajat Gupta sentenced.

    Link: vaguely sickened.

    So about that Goldman Sachs controversy: where Warren Buffett was about to invest; and there was a board meeting at 3:15 where the GS chairman told his board confidentially about it; and then Raj Rajaratnam of Galleon Group LLC got off a phonecall at 3:58 and proceeded to buy Goldman Sachs shares like he was tripping on meth; and then he got caught and was sentenced to much time in a prison cell?

    Well Mr Rajat Gupta, who maintains his innocence, was found guilty of making that phone call.

    Only don’t jail him, because he’s a really good guy.

    I mean – it’s not good to call it laughable. But it is. Some quotes from his lawyer:

    The fall from grace that Mr. Gupta has suffered or experienced as a result of this matter is as steep as I have ever seen anyone in any case that I have ever seen. This was an iconic figure, someone who had been a role model for people around the globe for his work.

    Now I am going to interrupt right here and say: surely he’s not about to argue that the loss of reputation is punishment enough*?

    He is:

    Something about an “extraordinary” and “selfless” life; how Rajat’s “extraordinary contributions have tangibly helped many, many people on this planet”; that this situation is a “total aberration in an otherwise laudatory life” and that “this is a man that has suffered punishment enough”.

    And then, to reiterate:

    This is a fall from grace of Greek tragic proportions. I think he has suffered punishment far worse than prison already**.”

    This was followed by 400 letters of testament to Mr Gupta’s good character. Including, apparently, letters from Bill Gates and Kofi Annan. And then a suggestion that Mr Gupta get to serve out time in community service with the poor in Rwanda.

    The judge called that particular suggestion “innovative”. And then did some judging:

    I thought, ah, this was the Peace Corps for insider traders. But I think if everything you told me about Mr Gupta’s character is correct, and I think it is, he would be doing this regardless of a court order or not. So looking at it in a cynical kind of way, it is not punishment.

    He was jailed for 2 years and fined $5 million.

    *And besides that: how is this lawyer’s opinion/experience of falls from grace relevant in the slightest? 

    **Again with his opinion of what he thinks – does he not realise that he’s biased?

  2. Bank of America sued.

    Link: the 2008 saga ongoes.

    During the crisis, Bank of America bought out Countrywide (a mortgage lender that was in a lot of trouble). The government is now suing Bank of America, in its capacity as The Con Artist formerly known as Countrywide, for generating defective loans and selling them to the Fannie Mae and the Freddie Mac (the two home mortgage institutions that have been taken over by the State).

    When I look at these situations, I always wonder a bit about the justice being served here. Because let’s say that the government is successful and Bank of America has to pay out. Who is really being held responsible?

    The shareholders of Bank of America. Because it becomes their loss.

    But the guys who generated these loans and did all the dirty work are long gone (to join Private Equity firms and Consultancy Groups) and relatively immune from all this.

    I’m just saying.

  3. Another draw.

    Link: Apple vs Samsung.

    Apple won a case in America and lost a case in the Hague yesterday. Samsung lost in America and won in the Hague.

    Does anyone else wonder about the American bias?

That’s all for now.

Have a good day.